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Multimedia medical database and content-based retrieval system;. • Multi-modality image registration;. • Picture archiving and communication system (PACS);.



Guest Editorial: Multimedia Information Technology in Biomedicine


ITH the recent advances in computing power, multimedia information technology is having a strong impact on modern biomedicine by providing more comprehensive and intuitive (qualitative and quantitative) information for biomedical research and clinical diagnosis, as well as changing our way of thinking, learning, researching and planning. A Special Issue on “Multimedia Information Technology in Biomedicine” has been organized for the IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY IN BIOMEDICINE (T-ITB). The purpose of this special issue was to assemble current original and innovative technical contributions to the field of multimedia information technology in biomedicine. The topics considered for the Special Issue included: • Computer-aided multimedia biomedical education and training; • Multimedia medical database and content-based retrieval system; • Multi-modality image registration; • Picture archiving and communication system (PACS); • Modeling and simulation based on multimedia data; • Biomedical data visualization; • 3-D animations in biomedicine; • Virtual hospital; • Virtual medical school; • Other virtual reality applications in biomedicine; • Multimedia telemedicine and teleradiology; • Telepresence and telemonitoring; • Biomedical World-Wide-Web applications; The response was very positive and we received quite a number of submissions. Due to the limited space of this volume, we could only select eight outstanding papers from eight of the world’s leading research groups in the areas. Many other outstanding papers have been recommended for publication in the next few regular issues of T-ITB. The first selected paper is from the Laboratory for Radiological Informatics (LRI), School of Medicine, University of California at San Francisco (UCSF), on “Teleconferencing with dynamic medical images,” by the Director of LRI, Prof. H. K. Huang et al. Prof. Huang is a pioneer in the field of picture archiving and communication system (PACS) and developed the PACS at University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) in 1991, and the hospital-integrated PACS at UCSF in 1995. He has received over 15 million U.S. dollars in PACS, medical image informatics, and image processing related research. In 1999, LRI emphasized its research in three areas: digital radiography, tele-imaging, and computer-aided diagnosis (CAD) in the PACS environment. In the field of digital radiography, two

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digital mammography systems were installed for telemammography applications and, in cooperation with the San Francisco VA Medical Center, a digital radiography system for clinical evaluation. In the area of tele-imaging, tthree imaging chains were established, one for teleneuro-imaging between UCSF and Mt. Zion Hospital, one for telemammography between the Ambulatory Care Center at UCSF, LRI, and breast imaging at Mt. Zion Hospital, and one for the cardiology conference between Prof. Huang’s laboratory and Stanford University. Toward this research, they also looked into image data integrity and authenticity during its transmission through public networks. All three links were demonstrated live during a U.S. National Research Council Committee site visit on “Enhancing the Internet for Medical and Biomedical Applications” on December 16, 1998. Also, in CAD in the PACS environment, their first application was developing a digital hand atlas for bone age assessment for children. The next paper is from the KMeD Group at the Department of Computer Science, UCLA, on “A medical digital library to support scenario and user-tailored information retrieval” by Prof. Wesley W. Chu et al. KMeD is a knowledge-based medical image database which provides content-based image retrieval. The system has been developed during the past eight years supported by the National Science Foundation. The work described in this paper is an outgrowth of the KMeD research which extend to semistructured and unstructured documents. As a result, new techniques such as scenario-based proxy, data mining, content correlation, and user model are introduced to provide scenario- and user-specific information retrieval. This research will serve as the work plan for one of the key components (called the digital file room) of a large ongoing research project titled PACS Infrastructure to Support Evidence-Based Medical Practice, Research and Education supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) at the UCLA Medical School. “Web-based video for real-time monitoring of radiological procedures” is the title of the third paper, contributed by Prof. Ratib et al.from the PACS and Imaging Informatics Group at UCLA. Prof. Ratib is currently Vice Chairman of Information Systems for the Department of Radiology at UCLA. This department has a long history of development and pioneering in PACS. In the early 1980’s, during Prof. H. K. Huang’s tenure there, one of the first clinically operational systems was developed and implemented in pediatric radiology. Since then, several innovative developments have followed with strong support from industry and from NIH grants. A constant evolution through different generation of image management systems and of the infrastructure that supports the deployment of image distribution across different parts of the medical enterprise have evolved toward a broader distribution and a better integration with other components of a computerized medical record. The research group has acquired an international

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reputation through numerous research projects and publications in the medical imaging domain. Recent initiatives focus on issues such as advanced image management and presentation on diagnostic workstations for supporting specific diagnostic and decision tasks, a wider distribution of images and remote consultation through teleradiology systems, and improved workflow management and better archival and communication systems. The technical development carried out at UCLA has rapidly adopted new concepts in information technology and has evolved toward more standard implementations and wider use of newer technologies such as web-based frameworks. This paper is followed by a contribution from the Interactive Media Group (IMG) on “Internet question and answer (iQ&A): A web-based survey technology” by Prof. Dennis and Prof. Gambhir. IMG, co-directed by Profs. Gambhir and Dennis, of the Crump Institute for Biological Imaging at the Department of Molecular and Medical Pharmacology, UCLA School of Medicine, conducts research and development in the field of educational technology. Supported in part by a gift from the Ahmanson Foundation, this lab has a commitment to develop technology that can be used in K–12 schools while continuing to pursue the integration of technology into the learning and instructional mission of their department and the undergraduate Life Science division of UCLA. The gift received from the Ahmanson Foundation is in support of the “Kids Building Learning Systems for Kids” interdisciplinary program. This program is a model for development that draws students into the creation and presentation of course instructional material using web-based collaboration tools developed at Crump IMG. This program has been very successful in involving students in the design, development, and creation of instructional media. An important focus of the work done in this lab is on the development of web-based software that can function as assessment vehicles as well as interactive learning opportunities for students. The tools and systems developed by IMG have also been utilized in the development of many web-based research support and management systems like the Clinic Trials Engine and iQ&A—a web-based survey and adaptive test building system. Other projects that are ongoing at Crump IMG include decision support systems such as the “Decisions for life: A prostate cancer decision support system,” and the Simulations and Interactive Models for Training and Educational Applications (Sim_Tea), a Java program for building mathematical models to simulate real systems. The paper by Prof. Christian Roux et al. (first author Rouet), from the Laboratory for Medical Information Processing (LATIM), France, is titled “Genetic algorithms for a robust 3-D MR-CT registration.” The LATIM Laboratory develops an integrated and multifield search, associating doctors and scientists in a partnership between the Medicine University, the hospital center, and the Ecole Nationale Superieure des Telecommunications de Bretagne (ENSTBr) of Brest. Its two main research themes are medical information analysis and modelization on the one hand and medical information management and communication on the other hand. For the first theme, where the goal is to extract relevant numerical information in medical images and signals, the LATIM group develops methods where the a priori knowledge is used to

formalize spatial information models. The originality and interest of this approach reside in the deformable nature of these models, where, starting from a prototype generic form, an evolution model makes it possible to match the form model to the data. These models are applied to two-dimensional (2-D) and three-dimensional (3-D) image segmentation, and also to tomographic reconstruction or image registration. The second theme, medical information management and communication, concerns creation (compression and indexing) and exploitation (indexing and fusion) of knowledge bases, including, for instance, multimedia data. The LATIM group make use of a global knowledge processing (knowledge representation and reasoning formalisms) inspired by a medical way of thinking. The main goals of this theme are compression, indexing, and data fusion for segmentation or interpretation of images, fixed or animated. Research of the laboratory group is applied to various projects divided into medical categories (anatomy and functional anatomy, opthalmology, gastro-enterology, cardiology and vascular system, and nuclear medicine). “Construction of a human topological model from medical data,” by Prof. Nadia Magnenat-Thalmann and Frédéric Cordier, came from the MIRALab Research Group at the University of Geneva, Switzerland. This Group was founded in 1989 by Nadia Magnenat-Thalmann and is made up of 25 researchers, 4 senior researchers, and some 20 M.Sc. students in the field of research into virtual humans and virtual worlds. MIRALab is funded largely through its intensive participation in several European projects as well as its collaborations with the private sector. Their research group specializes in many research areas, among them the design of networked virtual worlds, real-time recognition of emotions and interactive reactions of virtual humans through emotional models, and rapid photograph-based cloning techniques. A large part of their research is also focused on the field of medicine. One of the projects which MIRALab is involved in is TREMOR. In this European project, MIRALab activities are the modeling and visual simulation of upper limbs and the neck part. In another European project called DRAMA, their main activity is the simulation of soft tissues and muscles. The bones, muscles, soft tissues, and skin are represented using a multilayer approach in order to obtain a realistic human shape with real-time motion. Over the last few years, MIRALab has presented numerous papers at SIGGRAPH, Eurographics, CGI, and virtually all the other major conferences and journals in the field. Prof. Magnenat-Thalmann has conducted research on virtual humans for more than 20 years and has received numerous prestigious academic awards for her outstanding contributions. She is currently president of the Computer Graphics Society and chair of the IFIP Working Group 5.10 in computer graphics and virtual worlds. Prof. Vannier et al., of the Cochlear Imaging Group at Department of Radiology, University of Iowa, have contributed the paper “Three-dimensional modeling and visualization of the cochlea on the Internet” (first author Yoo). This group consists of leading experts in electrical and computer engineering, radiology, and otolaryngology. The Radiology Department, headed by Prof. Vannier, is equipped with the most modern diagnostic imaging systems and state-of-the-art computer workstations


and networks in an outstanding research environment. Iowa University is the home of The Virtual Hospital on Internet. This group is in close collaboration with the Cochlear Implant Program of the Washington University Medical School. Over the past several years, they have been extensively working on improvements of X-ray imaging and image analysis techniques for cochlear implantation. Recently, they had a major project funded for five years by NIH/NIDCD to develop spiral computer tomography for cochlear implantation. Their technical goal is to define implanted cochlear morphology via X-ray imaging and image analysis, as well as build individualized geometric models of the implanted cochlea. Such geometric models are important to describe the electrical fields implanted electrodes produce in each individual patient, and hence help program the speech processor and improve the electrode array design for better delivery of electrical stimuli. It is also worthwhile to mention that Prof. Vannier has authored more than 250 scientific publications and served as Editor-in-Chief of the IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON MEDICAL IMAGING. Finally, one paper is included from our Biomedical & Multimedia Information Technology (BMIT) Group at the University of Sydney and the Center for Multimedia Signal Processing (CMSP) at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University on “Content-based retrieval of dynamic PET functional images.” This is the first paper presenting content-based functional image retrieval for dynamic positron emission tomography (PET) based on physiological kinetic features. Biomedical and Multimedia Information Technology is one of the four research focuses and strategical development areas in the Department of Computer


Science at the University of Sydney. The BMIT Group comprises ten senior academic and hospital staff. Over the past three years, this group has published over 200 research papers in the areas of functional imaging, data compression, fast algorithms, modeling, simulation, visualization, dynamic image and video data processing, storage, indexing, retrieval, management, and communication. The Center for Multimedia Signal Processing is one of five strategically focused areas of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, which comprises 12 academic and 40 research staff members. It has been the major organizer or co-organizer of several important international events and conferences related to Digital Signal Processing and Multimedia in Hong Kong. In addition to academic research, the Center has played a significant part in several large applied projects in intelligent video conferencing, high-definition television, multimedia data storage, retrieval and integration, and many other multimedia-related projects. (DAVID) DAGAN FENG, Guest Editor Biomedical and Multimedia Information Technology Group Basser Department of Computer Science University of Sidney Sydney, NSW 2006 Australia and Center for Multimedia Signal Processing Department of Electronic & Information Engineering Hong Kong Polytechnic University Hong Kong

(David) Dagan Feng (M’88–SM’94) received the M.E. degree in electrical engineering and computing science from Shanghai JiaoTong University in 1982 and the M.Sc. degree in biocybernetics and the Ph.D. degree in computer science from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), in 1985 and 1988, respectively. After briefly working as Assistant Professor at the University of California, Riverside, he joined the University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia, as Lecturer, Senior Lecturer, Reader, and then Professor. He is currently Head of the Department of Computer Science at the University of Sydney. He is also serving as Professor and Deputy Director of the Center for Multimedia Signal Processing (CMSP) at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. He is Founder and Director of the Biomedical & Multimedia Information Technology (BMIT) Group at the University of Sydney. For the last ten years, in conjunction with his students and co-workers, he has published over 150 papers and made a number of landmark contributions, such as cutset analysis and decomposition for complex biomedical system modeling, optimal image sampling schedule (OISS) for data compression, diagnostically lossless data compression for 4-D functional images, reliable GLLS algorithms for nonuniformly sampled image-wide parameter estimation, cascaded modeling for noninvasive brain-PET quantification studies, and double modeling for noninvasive dynamic cardiac-PET studies. Prof. Feng is Chairman of the Hong Kong Institution of Engineers (HKIE) Biomedical Division, an HKIE Fellow, and ViceChairman of the International Federation of Automatic Control (IFAC) Technical Committee on MCBMS. He is also a Special Area Editor of the IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY IN BIOMEDICINE. He has been appointed an Honorary Research Consultant at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Honorary Professor at Jinan University, and Guest Professor at Northwestern Polytechnic University, Shanghai JiaoTong University, and Tsinghua University.

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