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UW workshop on mathematics of medical image processing called a 'success'

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November 10, 2005

Source: University of Waterloo:

UW workshop on mathematics of medical image processing called a 'success'

WATERLOO, Ont. -- A University of Waterloo (UW) workshop held Oct. 21-23 on the future direction of medical imaging was termed a resounding success by a wide range of health professionals and researchers from across North America and Europe.

The "Grand Mathematical Challenges of Medical Image Processing" workshop was sponsored by the Fields Institute for Research in Mathematical Sciences (Fields), Mathematics of Information Technology and Complex Systems (MITACS), Waterloo Institute for Health Informatics Research (WIHIR), and UW's Faculty of Mathematics and School of Computer Science.

Its goals were to review the state-of the-art of mathematics in image processing and share mathematical insights regarding future research directions in medical imaging.

The workshop speakers gave inspiring presentations on topics ranging from the use of partial differential equations in medical image processing, to thoughts on the current state of medical imaging, and what works and what does not. These presentations will be available by mid-November at link so that all can benefit from these visionary talks.

Taking part in the workshop were 65 individuals from universities, research institutes, companies and hospitals in North America and Europe. Each brought ideas and energy that made for productive discussions over the three days of the workshop.

Invited to give keynote lectures were: Paul Babyn, Associate Professor, Medical Imaging, University of Toronto and Radiologist-in-Chief, Hospital for Sick Children; Jelena Kovacevic, Professor, Biomedical Engineering and Electrical and Computer Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University; Ulf Grenander, Professor Emeritus, Applied Mathematics, Brown University; Terry Peters, Professor, Radiology and Nuclear Medicine and Medical Biophysics, University of Western Ontario and Scientist, Robarts Research Institute; Ron Kimmel, Associate Professor, Computer Science, Technion, Haifa; Keith Worsley, Professor, Mathematics and Statistics, McGill University; and Charles L. Epstein, Professor, Mathematics and Radiology, University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.

Jeff Orchard, the workshop director, sums up the workshop by noting: "You're never sure what will happen in a setting like this, but the speakers ignited a lively interaction with and among the participants. Challenging as it was to put something like this together, the effort was more than rewarded by the intensity and quality of discussions."

"We were fortunate to obtain seed funding for this workshop from the Fields Institute that made possible such a meeting of major importance to our work in medical image processing," said Ed Vrscay, a professor in Applied Mathematics at UW and a member of the organizing committee. "We were also very grateful to the internationally recognized scholars who accepted our invitations to participate in this meeting. The relationships we established will affect our work and that of other participants for years to come."

The participants were impressed with the quality of the workshop. Andrey Feuerverger, a Statistics professor at the University of Toronto, said: "From a professional viewpoint, this is probably one of the very best conferences I have ever attended. The quality of the speakers and the brilliantly directed focus of the range of topics covered were exceptional." Others echoed his comment, saying the workshop had "wonderful visionary talks you could really learn from and get ideas out of."

One of the objectives of the workshop was to jump-start new collaborations and set the stage for further interactions in coming years.

"This is one way we can bring in new ideas to our researchers and disseminate their work to others," said Dominic Covvey, the Founding Director of WIHIR, who helped set the vision for the workshop. "We have an incredible array of talent in medical image processing at Waterloo, and the success of this workshop demonstrates the effects we can have when we collaborate. I look forward to the next occurrence and even greater things."

The Fields Institute, founded in 1992, is located at the University of Toronto. Its mission is to enhance mathematical activity in Canada by bringing together mathematicians from Canada and abroad and by promoting contact and collaboration between professional mathematicians and the increasing numbers of users of mathematics. The seven principal sponsoring universities are Carleton University, McMaster University, University of Ottawa, University of Toronto, University of Waterloo, University of Western Ontario and York University.

MITACS is a federally funded Network of Centres of Excellence (NCE) in the mathematical sciences. It was launched in October 1998 as a joint initiative of Canada's three mathematical institutes: the Centre de recherches mathématiques (CRM), The Fields Institute for Research in Mathematical Sciences (Fields) and The Pacific Institute for the Mathematical Sciences (PIMS). MITACS provides mathematical models, software tools, and highly-qualified personnel to assist Canadian firms in key sectors of the Canadian economy.

The Waterloo Institute for Health Informatics Research (link) is a university-wide, trans-disciplinary institute delivering value to the health system through information, information management, and information and communication technologies research.

Jeff Orchard, School of Computer Science, UW,
(519) 888-4567, ext. 5037;
Shirley Fenton, Waterloo Institute for Health Informatics Research,
(519) 888-4074;
John Morris, UW Media Relations, (519) 888-4435;
Release no. 250 -- November 10, 2005



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