Nonlinear solvers for high-intensity focused ultrasound with application to cancer treatment

April 9 to April 13, 2012

at the

American Institute of Mathematics, Palo Alto, California

organized by

Oscar Bruno, Robin Cleveland, Nathan Albin, and Ronald Roy

This workshop, sponsored by AIM and the NSF, will focus on numerical techniques for the solution of nonlinear acoustic problems with application to cancer treatment by means of high-intensity focused ultrasound.

This workshop seeks to advance the state of the art in the field of numerical simulation and modelling of propagation and scattering of high-intensity nonlinear sound waves in complex anatomic media, with application to cancer treatment by means of high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU). The emphasis thus lies on prediction of HIFU fields in the human body, with a goal to develop effective treatment planning tools. HIFU is used clinically to destroy cancerous tumors and other soft tissue targets. The HIFU problem requires solution of the nonlinear acoustic wave equation in a domain that is hundreds of wavelengths in size, where the nonlinearity results in the generation of tens of harmonics as the wave propagates. The underlying medium is heterogeneous at various length scales, and the tissue absorption has a power law dependence that results in dispersion. Although the workshop will be focused on HIFU, it is envisioned that the numerical methods under study and development should also be applicable to modelling of nonlinear waves in the atmosphere, the ocean, and the earth.

The main topics for the workshop are:

The workshop will differ from typical conferences in some regards. Participants will be invited to suggest open problems and questions before the workshop begins, and these will be posted on the workshop website. These include specific problems on which there is hope of making some progress during the workshop, as well as more ambitious problems which may influence the future activity of the field. Lectures at the workshop will be focused on familiarizing the participants with the background material leading up to specific problems, and the schedule will include discussion and parallel working sessions.

The deadline to apply for support to participate in this workshop has passed.

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