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The Application of Cloud Computing in Pencil Beam Scanning Proton Therapy Monte Carlo Simulation

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B Wang

Z Wang1*, M Gao2 , (1) Reading Hospital, West Reading, PA, (2) ProCure Treatment Centers, Warrenville, IL


SU-E-T-314 Sunday 3:00PM - 6:00PM Room: Exhibit Hall

Purpose: Monte Carlo simulation plays an important role for proton Pencil Beam Scanning (PBS) technique. However, MC simulation demands high computing power and is limited to few large proton centers that can afford a computer cluster. We study the feasibility of utilizing cloud computing in the MC simulation of PBS beams.

Methods: A GATE/GEANT4 based MC simulation software was installed on a commercial cloud computing virtual machine (Linux 64-bits, Amazon EC2). Single spot Integral Depth Dose (IDD) curves and in-air transverse profiles were used to tune the source parameters to simulate an IBA machine. With the use of StarCluster software developed at MIT, a Linux cluster with 2-100 nodes can be conveniently launched in the cloud. A proton PBS plan was then exported to the cloud where the MC simulation was run.

Results: The simulated PBS plan has a field size of 10x10cm², 20cm range, 10cm modulation, and contains over 10,000 beam spots. EC2 instance type m1.medium was selected considering the CPU/memory requirement and 40 instances were used to form a Linux cluster. To minimize cost, master node was created with on-demand instance and worker nodes were created with spot-instance. The hourly cost for the 40-node cluster was $0.63 and the projected cost for a 100-node cluster was $1.41. Ten million events were simulated to plot PDD and profile, with each job containing 500k events. The simulation completed within 1 hour and an overall statistical uncertainty of < 2% was achieved. Good agreement between MC simulation and measurement was observed.

Conclusion: Cloud computing is a cost-effective and easy to maintain platform to run proton PBS MC simulation. When proton MC packages such as GATE and TOPAS are combined with cloud computing, it will greatly facilitate the pursuing of PBS MC studies, especially for newly established proton centers or individual researchers.

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