Embarrassingly parallel acceleration of global tractography via dynamic domain partitioning

Haiyong Wu, Geng Chen, Yan Jin, Dinggang Shen, Pew Thian Yap

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Global tractography estimates brain connectivity by organizing signal-generating fiber segments in an optimal configuration that best describes the measured diffusion- weighted data, promising better stability than local greedy methods with respect to imaging noise. However, global tractography is computationally very demanding and requires computation times that are often prohibitive for clinical applications. We present here a reformulation of the global tractography algorithm for fast parallel implementation amendable to acceleration using multi-core CPUs and general-purpose GPUs. Our method is motivated by the key observation that each fiber segment is affected by a limited spatial neighborhood. In other words, a fiber segment is influenced only by the fiber segments that are (or can potentially be) connected to its two ends and also by the diffusion-weighted signal in its proximity. This observation makes it possible to parallelize the Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) algorithm used in the global tractography algorithm so that concurrent updating of independent fiber segments can be carried out. Experiments show that the proposed algorithm can significantly speed up global tractography, while at the same time maintain or even improve tractography performance.

Original languageEnglish
Article number25
JournalFrontiers in Neuroinformatics
Issue numberJUL
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Jul 13

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Wu, Chen, Jin, Shen and Yap.


  • Brain connectivity
  • Diffusion magnetic resonance imaging
  • Global tractography
  • Markov chain Monte Carlo
  • Parallel computing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience (miscellaneous)
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications


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