Medical applications like CT (computed tomography) scanning and MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) require quick, accurate results from processing complex algorithms. A major challenge for manufacturers of medical imaging equipment is reducing the time required to produce the images while reducing equipment cost and valuable space. Three technical advances in the last ten years that are helping to overcome this challenge are PCI Express (PCIe) over cable, compute acceleration cards (GPUs) and PCIe Flash storage cards.
PCIe allowed for the advancement of expansion systems that connect to a server, thus increasing the capability of that server. When you attach one of these expansion appliances to a server and put PCIe add-in boards in the appliance, they act as if they’re part of the server so no software conversion is required. That’s one of the main reasons PCIe is more attractive than Infiniband or other high speed cabled buses.
When an expansion system is loaded with high compute accelerators like GPUs and PCIe Flash storage cards and then cabled to a high performance server, applications like CT Scanners and MRI machines can process and store data many times faster than with conventional computers. Multi-core GPU processors significantly offload the CPU, delivering results more quickly and reducing the workload on the CPU. Since one expansion system can do the job of racks of computers, equipment costs are reduced and essential space is reduced to a few RU (rack units) of area. With GPU’s and Flash Memory Cards, imaging test results can be delivered within a 30-minute patient visit. When it comes to your health, it’s definitely better to get results sooner rather than later.