April 2011: Kitware News Part 2

IS&T/SPIE Electronic Imaging Conference
The IS&T/SPIE Electronic Imaging conference was held in San Francisco from January 23–27 this year.  This conference is the must-attend event for all aspects of electronic imaging, including imaging systems, image processing, image quality, and algorithms.  It featured multiple, parallel tracks on 3D Imaging, Interaction and Measurement; Imaging, Visualization, and Perception; Image Processing; Digital Imaging Sensors and Applications; Multimedia Processing and Applications; and Visual Information Processing and Communication.  This year Kitware joined forces with Portola Pharmaceuticals to present a poster and live demonstration on “Tracking flow of leukocytes in blood for drug analysis,” (authors A. Basharat, W. D. Turner, G. Stephens, B. Badillo, R. Lumpkin, P. Andre, and A. Perera).  The work was presented by Arslan Basharat and Wesley Turner of Kitware.

Kitware Awarded NASA Grant
It was announced in March that NASA awarded SBIR funding to Kitware to further develop ParaView to meet the needs of ultrascale visualization. The software will address critical issues in order to enable real-time investigation of extremely large datasets using massive distributed memory architectures with up to 100,000 cores.

We will be collaborating with California-based SciberQuest, leaders in kinetic modeling of space plasmas, to complete the project. This partnership enables us to work with real world data from petascale simulations directly relevant to NASA’s missions and scientific goals, and allows the development to be guided by the ultimate users of the software.

In this investigative phase we will identify scaling bottlenecks in ParaView, which is currently used by NASA to explore the results of trillion element particle simulations on the Pleiades supercomputer. As the number of processors scales up past ten thousand, we anticipate that the most critical issues will be data IO, architectural overhead, and the compositing of the partial results. While the Phase I effort of this project is limited to developing prototypes and only select improvements will be incorporated into the software, if the Phase II effort is funded the complete range of improvements will be merged into ParaView and the underlying Visualization Toolkit (VTK), which will benefit tens of thousands of researchers world-wide.

NA-MIC Project Week
The NA-MIC community met for their 7th annual All Hands Meeting and External Advisory Board meeting January 7-10 in Salt Lake City, Utah. With the recent renewal of the NIH National Center of Biomedical Computing NA-MIC grant, this AHM/EAB meeting marked the beginning of the next four years of what will ultimately be a 10-year project.  Well over 100 people were in attendance, including science officers and other NIH officials.  One common theme to this meeting was the impact Slicer was having throughtout the world. That impact is well illustrated by the figure below – it shows the locations to which Slicer has been downloaded.   

Kitware was present in force and made significant contributions to the meeting and Slicer. Stephen Aylward, Jean-Christophe Fillion-Robin, Julien Finet, Tina Kapur, Danielle Pace, Dave Partyka, Zach Mullen and Will Schroeder were in attendance. Some of the areas where Kitware was focusing its efforts included the preview release of Slicer 4 (a Qt-based rewrite of Slicer spearheaded by Julien Finet and Jean-Christophe Fillion-Robin); the beta release of TubeTK (an adjunct toolkit that provides sliding-organ registration and vascular analysis capabilities, by Danielle and Stephen); a 64-bit Slicer Windows build by Dave Partyka and Steve Pieper; DICOM/MIDAS data integration by Zach Mullen; and two new reformat widgets being developed by Will Schroeder.   We are looking forward to four more full and rewarding years with NA-MIC, and many more years with Slicer beyond those.

VTK Selected for Google Summer of Code
The Visualization Toolkit (VTK) has been accepted for the 2011 Google Summer of Code, with Kitware acting as the mentoring organization. This program encourages student participation in open source communities through three-month paid development projects. Students interested in the program apply to work on a specific project and work with a mentor at the organization over the course of the summer. This global program gives students the opportunity to work on real-world software projects and provides mentoring organizations with potential new developers. Additionally, since all development is open source, the projects grow and code is contributed back to the community.

Of 417 applications this year, Google selected 175 open source projects for participation, 50 of which are new to the program. Google has posted a list of all accepted projects.  Kitware has several project ideas for students, such as the development of new 2D charts, chemistry visualization, volume rendering in WebGL, AMR volume rendering and Apple iOS support for ParaViewWeb.

Tibbetts Award
Kitware received a Tibbetts Award for its Software Toolkit for Image-Guided Surgery (IGSTK) Phase I and II STTRS. The award, which recognizes companies who represent excellence in achieving the mission and goals of the SBIR and STTR programs, is named for Roland Tibbetts. Tibbetts is considered the father of the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program, which he began as an experimental project at the National Science Foundation in the early 1980’s.

IGSTK, our tool for research involving minimally invasive image-guided medical procedures, is being used in investigations into new surgical techniques that may improve surgical accuracy and precision, increase a surgeon’s ability to confidently treat challenging and complex pathologies, decrease surgical trauma, and reduce recovery time for patients.

The IGSTK STTR is a collaborative research project between Kitware’s New York and North Carolina offices and the Computer Aided Interventional and Medical Robotics (CAIMR) group, which is led by Dr. Kevin Cleary at Georgetown University.

Dr. Andinet Enquobahrie, with Roland Tibbetts, the father of the SBIR program, accepted the award at
a ceremony in Washington, DC on behalf of Kitware and the Image Guided Surgery Toolkit team.

NA-MIC Registration Retreat
From February 19-23, Danielle Pace, Will Schroeder, and Stephen Aylward attended a “Registration Retreat” in San Juan, Puerto Rico.   This event brings together registration algorithm researchers from the Neuroimage Analysis Center, NA-MIC, the National Center for Image Guided Therapy, and other invited researchers.
 
The meeting consisted of a daily mix of 2-4 hours of group discussions followed by break-out meetings.  There were 13 participants, including Brian Avants (an ITK collaborator), Guido Gerig (University of Utah), Kilian Pohl (University of Pennsylvania), Torsten Rohlfing (SRI International), William Wells (MIT), Matthew Toews (McGill University), Gregory Sharp (MGH), and C-F Westin (Harvard).

The intended product of the meeting is a journal article that presents the unmet challenges and opportunities in the clinical application of registration algorithms. The group made good progress on the paper, which will be led by Tina Kapur and Stephen Aylward.

Kitware Publications Update
The printing of the VTK Textbook is complete and it is again available for purchase through the Kitware online store.  
Additionally, we have added new ways to provide feedback on our books through our website via a bug tracker or email.  We encourage our readers to visit the website and send us any comments or suggestions so that we can improve the next editions of each of our books.

New Online Home for the Source
Based on reader feedback, we have created a new digital version of the Source. This new digital adaptation is in the style of a blog, and readers will now be able to post comments on the articles and subscribe to specific topics and authors through an RSS feed. We encourage our readers to subscribe in order to take full advantage of the new, interactive features. To register, please visit www.kitware.com/source. If you have any feedback on the new digital version, please email us at editor@kitware.com.

Kitware Courses in Europe
This past February the team from Kitware’s office in Lyon, France taught its first public course in Europe. The three-day course, by Julien Jomier and Charles Marion, focused on ITK, VTK, ParaView and Kitware’s set of build and testing tools, CMake, CTest and CDash. The course was well attended and filled to capacity. It was attended by an international group of students representing Brazil, Germany, Ireland and France.


Students at Kitware’s course taught in Lyon, France

The success of this first course has prompted the Kitware team to teach an advanced, two-day VTK course to be held April 7-8 in Lyon. This course will cover an overview of the VTK architecture, VTK visualization pipelines, information visualization techniques, writing custom filters and parallel processing and rendering techniques.
 
If you are interested in one of our courses, please visit our website to see our full range of offerings.

Kitware Celebrates its Anniversary
This March Kitware celebrated its 13th anniversary. The company has grown significantly since 1998, from five co-founders to nearly 100 employees, with offices in three cities on two continents. There are several factors that I believe have enabled our success, which I would like to share.

First, at Kitware we have always been fortunate in that we have an attitude of service, doing what each of us does best and helping each other. We have been able to take the best in each of us to create something better than any one of us could do on our own. We also had great early customers to fuel our growth, including Terry Yoo at the National Library of Medicine who established the ITK project in 1999, Jim Ahrens at Los Alamos who pushed for parallelizing VTK for use on supercomputers and who started the ParaView project, Brian Wylie at Sandia who supported and promoted ParaView, and a collection of customers ranging from oil and gas to computing hardware manufacturers to research collaborators in academia and various research labs. I also think we are riding a profound wave of innovation and collaboration due to the emerging open source movement, and have been able to ride this wave to create technically excellent products and very effective collaborations. At Kitware, we have also created a synergistic and powerful technology portfolio that enables us to create solutions for customers that few other companies can deliver. Finally, we have developed outstanding business processes that provide a foundation of stability in what is a very dynamic business environment.

However, while all of these are unquestionably vital to our past and future success, there is one element of our success that I have come to fully understand, and that is the caliber of our people, which I would like to explain by way of a discussion of workplace diversity. I am sure that many of you have heard business leaders talking about the importance of diversity in the workplace. Early on I thought “diversity” simply referred to the mix of genders, ages, cultural backgrounds and so on that creates a stimulating work environment. While these factors are certainly important, they are only the tip of the diversity iceberg: what makes this company great is the tremendous range of skills, abilities, talents and potential that we collectively represent.

In the coming years we will continue the practices that have enabled our success: service to our co-workers and collaborators; finding supportive customers; growing our leading-edge technology portfolio; extending our open source outreach; and refining our business processes. Moreover we will continue to hire some of the best talent we can find, and we will do all we can to unleash the diverse potential of the people at Kitware.
     
     -Will Schroeder, President and CEO


Upcoming Conferences and Events
2011 Northeast Bioengineering Conference
April 1-3 at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Rensselaer, NY. Rick Avila will be giving a keynote speech and Will Schroeder will be participating in the CEO Forum discussion.

OpenFOAM Workshop

June 13-16 at Penn State University in State College, PA. Dave DeMarle will be teaching an advanced ParaView tutorial on June 13.

NA-MIC Summer Project Week

June 20-24 at MIT in Cambridge, MA. This project week focuses on hands-on R&D for applications in image-guided therapy and other areas of biomedical research. Will Schroeder will be attending.

IEEE Computer Vision Pattern Recognition (CVPR)
June 21-25 in Colorado Springs, CO. Anthony Hoogs is co-organizing two workshops, the Workshop on the Activity Recognition Competition and the Workshop on Camera Networks and Wide Area Scene Analysis. Luis Ibáñez, Matt Leotta, Amitha Perera and Patrick Reynolds will be teaching the tutorial “ITK meets OpenCV: A New Open Source Software Resource for CV” on June 20th.

SIGGRAPH 2011

August 7-11 in Vancouver, BC, Canada. SIGGRAPH is the premiere international event focused on computer graphics and interactive techniques. Aashish Chaudhary will be attending.
If you would like to set up a time to meet with us at any of these events, please contact our office by phone at
(518) 371-3971 or email at kitware@kitware.com.

New Employees

Zak Ford
Zak joined Kitware in February as a new systems administrator. Prior to joining, he worked as a systems administrator and web application developer for Gui Productions, Inc. Zak studied Computer Science at the University at Albany.

Tami Grasso

Tami joined Kitware in April as the new office assistant. Prior to joining Kitware, Tami worked in a customer service role for Time Warner Cable and was a co-owner of Capitaland Flooring Company, where she was responsible for maintianing company records, providing customer support and developing marketing materials.

Michelle Kimmel

Michelle joined Kitware in February as an accountant on the finance team. She received her B.S. in Accounting from the University of Maryland. Prior to joining Kitware, Michelle held accounting positions with Seton Health Systems, Inc. and the Walden Golf Club, where she was responsible for preparing monthly journal entries, managing account reconciliations, processing accounts payable and assisting in preparation of grant paperwork.

John Tourtellot

John joined Kitware in February as an R&D engineer on the computer vision team.  He received his B.S. cum laude and M. Eng. degrees in electrical engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Prior to coming to Kitware, John worked as a senior software engineer at Simmetrix, where he developed component software for simulation based design.

George Zagaris

George joined Kitware in January as an R&D engineer for the scientific computing group. He earned his B.S. (Honors) and M.S. in computer science from the College of William and Mary, where his M.S. research focused on parallel unstructured mesh generation for CFD applications and was partially funded by the NASA Graduate Student Research Program  Fellowship at NASA Langley Research Center (LaRC).

Kitware Internships
Kitware Internships provide current college students with the opportunity to gain hands-on experience working with leaders in their fields on cutting-edge problems. Our business model is based on open source software—an exciting, rewarding work environment.

At Kitware, you will assist in the development of foundational research and leading-edge technology across our five business areas. We are actively recruiting interns for the summer. If you are interested in applying, please send your resume to internships@kitware.com.

Employment opportunities
Kitware is seeking talented, motivated and creative individuals to become part of our team. As one of the fastest growing companies in the country, we have an immediate need for software developers, especially those with
experience in computer vision, scientific computing and  medical imaging.

At Kitware, you will work on cutting-edge research problems alongside experts in the fields of visualization, medical imaging, computer vision, 3D data publishing and technical software development. Our open source business model means that your impact goes far beyond Kitware as you become part of the worldwide communities surrounding our projects.

Kitware employees are passionate and dedicated to innovative open-source solutions. They enjoy a collaborative work environment that empowers them to pursue new opportunities and challenge the status quo with new ideas.  In addition to providing an excellent workplace, we offer comprehensive benefits including: flexible hours; six weeks paid time off; a computer hardware budget; 401(k); health, vision, dental and life insurance; short- and long-term disability, visa processing; a generous compensation plan; profit sharing; and free drinks and snacks.

Interested applicants should send a cover letter and resume to jobs@kitware.com for their immediate consideration.

Questions or comments are always welcome!