What was the topic of your project?
The topic of my project was studying the usage of High Performance Computing technologies to improve image guided cancer tumour identification by analysing large sets of images to classify the textures and related features of cancer tumours. Given the size of the sets and the complexity the computation times for the researchers can run up to a few hours. The main aim of our project was studying the use of parallel computing technologies, in particular GPUs and computer clusters to reduce the computational time, in first instance for the classification that was being done, and in a second and farther out in the future instance to see the feasibility of a real time texture analysis system.
Which external company/organisation did you work with?
It was done in collaboration with researchers from Western General Hospital in Edinburgh, who also form part of the Edinburgh Cancer Research Centre.
How successful was the project?
Overall the project was a success both in its intended aim, studying the use of the technologies for the Hospital researchers, and also showed the strengths of collaboration with external organisations.
What was the most challenging part of the project?
Overall the most challenging, and at the same time challenging, part of the project was the need to not only understand the calculations and algorithms being used by the researchers (along its associated code), but also understanding and using the adequate technologies taking into consideration ease of use for medical researchers along potential speed ups achievable. The additional restriction of having to use GPUs and computer clusters, given their availability for the Hospital, instead of bigger more traditional HPC resources also provided a different experience, similar to working in industries that traditionally don't have access to big computing resources, and therefore it was a great experience for applying the abilities acquired during the degree in the outside world.
How did undertaking this project with an external company/organisation benefit you?
Overall the project was a success both in its intended aim, studying the use of the technologies for the Hospital researchers, and also showed the strengths of collaboration with external organisations, in that the project is subject to requirements and use cases that derive from the organisation circumstances unrelated to the HPC/parallel requirements, and therefore as was previously stated, was an immensely valuable experience for me given this and the learning of additional knowledge (in this case related to Cancer Research) that it also required.