The CyberKnife delivers a large number of beams originating at different non‐planar positions and with different orientation. We study how much the quality of treatment plans depends on the beams considered during plan optimization. Particularly, we evaluate a new approach to search for optimal treatment plans in parallel by running optimization steps concurrently.
So far, no deterministic, complete and efficient method to select the optimal beam configuration for robotic SRS/SBRT is known. Considering a large candidate beam set increases the likelihood to achieve a good plan, but the optimization problem becomes large and impractical to solve. We have implemented an approach that parallelizes the search by solving multiple linear programming problems concurrently while iteratively resampling zero weighted beams. Each optimization problem contains the same set of constraints but different variables representing candidate beams. The search is synchronized by sharing the resulting basis variables among the parallel optimizations. We demonstrate the utility of the approach based on an actual spinal case with the objective to improve the coverage.
The objective function is falling and reaches a value of 5000 after 49, 31, 25 and 15 iterations for 1, 2, 4, and 8 parallel processes. This corresponds to approximately 97% coverage in 77%, 59%, and 36% of the mean number of iterations with one process for 2, 4, and 8 parallel processes, respectively. Overall, coverage increases from approximately 91.5% to approximately 98.5%.
While on our current computer with uniform memory access the reduced number of iterations does not translate into a similar speedup, the approach illustrates how to effectively parallelize the search for the optimal beam configuration. The experimental results also indicate that for complex geometries the beam selection is critical for further plan optimization.