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Computer hardware costs are the limiting factor in producing highly accurate radiation dose calculations on convenient time scales. Because of this, large scale, full Monte Carlo simulations and other resource intensive algorithms are often considered infeasible for clinical settings. The emerging cloud computing paradigm promises to fundamentally alter the economics of such calculations by providing relatively cheap, on-demand, pay-as-you-go computing resources over the Internet. The authors believe that cloud computing will usher in a new era, in which very large scale calculations will be routinely performed by clinics and researchers using cloud-based resources. In this research, several proof-of-concept radiation therapy calculations were successfully performed on a cloud-based virtual Monte Carlo cluster. Performance evaluations were made of a distributed processing framework developed specifically for this project.
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