CONRAD - A software framework for cone-beam imaging in radiology

Andreas Maier, Hannes G. Hofmann, Martin Berger, Peter Fischer, Chris Schwemmer, Haibo Wu, Kerstin Müller, Joachim Hornegger, Jang Hwan Choi, Christian Riess, Andreas Keil, Rebecca Fahrig

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

110 Scopus citations


Purpose: In the community of x-ray imaging, there is a multitude of tools and applications that are used in scientific practice. Many of these tools are proprietary and can only be used within a certain lab. Often the same algorithm is implemented multiple times by different groups in order to enable comparison. In an effort to tackle this problem, the authors created CONRAD, a software framework that provides many of the tools that are required to simulate basic processes in x-ray imaging and perform image reconstruction with consideration of nonlinear physical effects. Methods: CONRAD is a Java-based state-of-the-art software platform with extensive documentation. It is based on platform-independent technologies. Special libraries offer access to hardware acceleration such as OpenCL. There is an easy-to-use interface for parallel processing. The software package includes different simulation tools that are able to generate up to 4D projection and volume data and respective vector motion fields. Well known reconstruction algorithms such as FBP, DBP, and ART are included. All algorithms in the package are referenced to a scientific source. Results: A total of 13 different phantoms and 30 processing steps have already been integrated into the platform at the time of writing. The platform comprises 74.000 nonblank lines of code out of which 19% are used for documentation. The software package is available for download at To demonstrate the use of the package, the authors reconstructed images from two different scanners, a table top system and a clinical C-arm system. Runtimes were evaluated using the RabbitCT platform and demonstrate state-of-the-art runtimes with 2.5 s for the 256 problem size and 12.4 s for the 512 problem size. Conclusions: As a common software framework, CONRAD enables the medical physics community to share algorithms and develop new ideas. In particular this offers new opportunities for scientific collaboration and quantitative performance comparison between the methods of different groups.

Original languageEnglish
Article number111914
JournalMedical Physics
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors thank Lars Wigström for the contribution of the structure tensor filtering software, Rotimi X. Ojo for the interface to the X-COM database and the FORBILD parser, and Benjamin Keck and Sungwon Yoon for the OpenCL back projector. This work was supported in part by NIH under Grant Nos. R01EB003524 and R01HL087917, and the Lucas Foundation. The authors gratefully acknowledge funding of the Erlangen Graduate School in Advanced Optical Technologies (SAOT) and the Research Training Group Heterogeneous Imaging Systems by the German Research Foundation (DFG) in the framework of the German excellence initiative.


  • C-arm computed tomography (CT)
  • GPU
  • cone-beam
  • hardware acceleration
  • open-source
  • software frameworks


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