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Supercomputing Robotics Software Linux

Linux Cluster Supercomputer Performs Surgery on Dog 68

Posted by Soulskill
from the hasn't-quite-mastered-fetch-though dept.
An anonymous reader writes "In April, the Lonestar supercomputer, a Dell Linux Cluster with 5,840 processors at the Texas Advanced Computing Center in Austin, performed laser surgery on a dog in Houston without the intervention of a surgeon. The article describes the process: 'The treatment itself is broken into four stages: 1) Lonestar instructs the laser to heat the domain with a non-damaging calibration pulse; 2) the thermal MRI acquires baseline images of the heating and cooling of the patient's tissue for model calibration; 3) Lonestar inputs this patient-specific information and recomputes the optimal power profile for the rest of the treatments; and 4) surgery begins, with remote visualizations and evolving predictions continuing throughout the procedure.'"
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Linux Cluster Supercomputer Performs Surgery on Dog

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  • by backtick (2376) on Saturday June 07, 2008 @12:55PM (#23694125) Homepage Journal
    Wow, how about bowing down before a cluster of those? Heheh. Mixing the memes, sorry...
  • The dog died. (Score:5, Informative)

    by cduffy (652) <charles+slashdot@dyfis.net> on Saturday June 07, 2008 @12:56PM (#23694135)
    ...and they bury that very far down in TFA. The question, of course, is whether that was the planned outcome; I'd like to see it answered a little more explicitly.

    If it is the intended outcome... well, so be it. If not, OTOH, that makes me a little less likely to sign up to be an early human test subject. :)
    • Re:The dog died. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by J'ai Friedpork (1293672) on Saturday June 07, 2008 @01:09PM (#23694209) Homepage
      Second. I for one would like to know whether the dog died because of the treatment, in spite of it, or because they had to do an autopsy. Probably the latter, but the fact that they didn't specify it is a little worrying.
    • by crackp1pe (1301669) on Saturday June 07, 2008 @01:12PM (#23694229)
      Linux killed a dog? It must have been using ReiserFS, I hear it's a killer file system.
    • by DaveV1.0 (203135)
      They state that the dog gave it's life for the test. It does not state that the dog died as a result of the surgery.

      A more likely interpretation is that the surgery was completed and that the dog was killed and dissected to determine if the surgery was a success. That is what normally happens during animal trials.
      • by DrSkwid (118965)
        I doubt it was a volunteer.
      • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

        by morari (1080535)
        Only because we, as a species, don't have the balls to subject ourselves to stupid experiments. We force other living creatures to do it for use.
        • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward
          Go on mate, be the first. No? Then sit down and have your nice, big, warm glass of the ol' shut the fuck up.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Phyrexicaid (1176935)
      And then they installed Linux on it.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      The Lonestar may not be able to successfully perform surgery, but I hear it's pretty good at jamming Dark Helmet's radar.
    • Yeah, it doesn't count to do computer surgery if the thing dies anyways.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Tubal-Cain (1289912)
      Look on the bright side: The cancer died too.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by SUB7IME (604466)
      In medical research using animals, the animal is traditionally sacrificed for the purpose of accessing the tissue, seeing the anatomy, and gaining a more complete understanding of what actually happened during the experiment.
      • by cduffy (652)
        Makes good sense. It wouldn't hurt for an article aimed at people who aren't domain experts to be somewhat more explicit, though.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    "Although the dog gave his life to the research, his sacrifice furthers science by allowing researchers to assess the success of the treatment and plan improvements."

    Maybe next time the researchers should try it...damn vivisectionists.
  • Awesome (Score:5, Insightful)

    by timeOday (582209) on Saturday June 07, 2008 @01:13PM (#23694235)
    For the big dollars that surgeons pull down, they are after all performing mostly rote procedures for the most part. When you can replace a decade of training a person with a simple file copy to load software on to a robot, think of the savings that represents. Health care costs are a big drag on our standard of living in all other areas and it's only getting worse. Not to mention the millions who die around the world because they simply cannot afford the procedures. I'm by no means saying this technology is ready or that I'd be willing to go under the robo-knife at this point, but I'm sure glad they're working on it.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Xtravar (725372)
      We could get the savings now, without machines, if we lowered the bar to doing certain doctor-only actions and stopped artificially limiting the amount of doctors in the market.

      In some cases, they already are by allowing doctor's assistants and nurses' assistants the same powers. But I won't really consider it a success until I can go down the street and have eye surgery in Boris's basement, right next to where he makes the bootleg vodka.
    • Re:Awesome (Score:5, Informative)

      by HuguesT (84078) on Saturday June 07, 2008 @02:02PM (#23694545)
      Of course replacing a surgeon with a reliable fully automated robot would be great.

      However your description of surgery is not correct. Surgery is difficult, minutious and different for ever patient. Great surgeons must be able to plan ahead, direct a team and control all the details of a surgery procedure as it happens, as well as improvising with a cool head for hours on end if things go wrong.

      It's the exact opposite of rote procedure. Especially now with recent advances in real-time non-invasive imaging and haptic instruments procedures change all the time.
    • by DrYak (748999)

      When you can replace a decade of training a person with a simple file copy to load software on to a robot, think of the savings that represents.

      And who is going to plan the surgery ?
      A doctor who has gone medical training is still required. The only thing is after a long intellectually preparation part (reflection, selecting the route, specifying the region, everything else that needs to be planned by someone with lots of experience), the doctor can give the instruction to the robot and move to the next case.

      The price are going to go down. Not because you'll get rid of the doctors, but because the "planning" doctors we'll be able to handle more cas

  • If only it was a PowerPC cluster!

    Yellow Dog Linux [terrasoftsolutions.com] distro home page.
  • Autodoc? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by AmiMoJo (196126) <mojo @ w orld3.net> on Saturday June 07, 2008 @03:48PM (#23695361) Homepage
    This sounds like one of the first steps in creating an autodoc from Larry Niven's books. Basically a box (coffin) you put someone in, close the lid and wait for it to fix them. It contains full life support, can perform surgery and produce (cloning?) it's own replacement parts.

    Of more immediate use, this sort of thing could be very useful for situations where surgeons are not available. Ships at sea, trips to Mars, NHS hospitals with long waiting lists...
    • by awrowe (1110817)
      Do you reckon NASA would get upset at the astronaut who typed 'apt-get dist-update && apt-get dist-upgrade' from mars? "But dude, they finally fixed X in this one!"
    • by drinkypoo (153816)
      Actually, the first step was to develop techniques for imaging (parts of) the body (CAT, MRI, PET, X-Ray, whatever.)
  • by russlar (1122455) on Saturday June 07, 2008 @07:27PM (#23696875)
    Does this qualify as a Beowoof Cluster?
  • Before testing or reconfiguring, always mount a scratch monkey
  • From the article it sounds like the real development is combining thermal MR and thermal ablation therapy with a computer to give you more confidence that you've properly heated the whole target. The computer doesn't do any cutting. It doesn't make the incision, or sew it back up.

    If you want to consider what it does surgery then you really should include radiotherapy treatments that have been computer controlled for years.
  • linux computers doe it take to KILL a dog?
  • The "New You" cosmetic surgery laser gone haywire in "Logan's Run" comes to mind. On the other hand, can I get one of these to melt snow on the road a few centimeters in front of my 70MPH tires? How many development cycles before 5,840 processors will fit in my glove box?

How many QA engineers does it take to screw in a lightbulb? 3: 1 to screw it in and 2 to say "I told you so" when it doesn't work.

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