The challenge facing the partners in this experiment was to create mathematical models and develop the necessary software tools to enable simulations of cerebral blood flow in the ophthalmic artery to be performed. The computational requirements of such simulations made it necessary to adapt the software tools to run on an HPC system. The goal was to demonstrate the feasibility and benefits of such simulations to Vittamed and how the necessary computations could be performed via a pay-per-use Cloud-based-HPC solution.
An internal Carotid/Opthalmic Artery model has been developed, based on MRI imaging, and used to simulate blood flow. This model has been tested and optimised to run on a multi-processor HPC system. It will be used by Vittamed in the future development of its non-invasive ICP measurement technology by simulating blood flow in arteries with specified parameters under different external conditions in order to gain understanding of blood-flow pulsations. Simula has written and tested the necessary software tools needed to implement the required simulations. These tools enable the efficient implementation of the model on an HPC-system. Simulations of the blood-flow model can be performed easily by non-experts by specifying the model parameters through a simple text file.
Through cloud based-HPC simulations Vittamed can realise a reduction in time to market, due to shorter simulation times. It can also design more accurate products. In particular, Vittamed is targeting a new ophthalmological market niche for glaucoma diagnostics, where more precise and accurate ICP measurements are needed. Glaucoma blindness is irreversible, but it may become preventable, if aided by advancements in screening and early detection. Improved measurements of intraocular and intracranial pressure would enable the development of innovative diagnostic and screening technologies and treatment methods. Vittamed can gain a significant commercial benefit resulting from the global expansion of the market for ICP diagnostic devices in ophthalmology. The global market for ophthalmic diagnostic equipment is estimated to reach $947M in 2017. The new market niche for SME in ophthalmology will create a commercial opportunity with an estimated potential of more than €100M per year.
Simula Research Laboratory will exploit the results of this experiment by developing research projects with industrial, clinical, and scientific communities across Europe and beyond. The open-source solver developed is an attractive alternative to commercial solvers because there are no associated licence fees.
The results of the experiment will support the HPC cloud provider, CINECA, in offering its services to the biomedical market, enabling SMEs to benefit from HPC-based simulation.