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The future of MAF

On October 10th, in Bologna, a meeting day entitled “The future of MAF” was held, focused on the Multimod Application Framework (MAF), an Open Source software which enables the rapid development of the applications for the so called “computer aided medicine”.

Since eight years the MAF framework is being actively developed by an international group of experts coordinated by BioComputing Competence Centre (B3C), operated by CINECA, Istituto Ortopedico Rizzoli and SCS srl.

The round table offered the occasion to discuss and to make comparisons among groups who contribute to the MAF development, groups who use it during their research activities, researchers who develop similar tools, and industrial groups with interest in it.

The round table aimed at defining the overall features of the next MAF version, started to be developed during these days. These features are particularly difficult to be defined in a middle time term medical scenarius, which includes the use of computer models in the clinical practice, the development of the multiscale modelling of the biological systems, the income of the architectures of multicore microprocessors, and the difficulty encountered by many different projects similar to MAF in keeping a model of collaborative development Open Source type.

At the meeting many experts - known at international level - participated, such as Marco Viceconti, founder and technical director of B3C and principal promoter of the European initiative “The Virtual Physiological Human; Stephen Aylward, responsible for biomedical projects in Kitware (a well known american company specilised in toolkit software VTK and ITK on which MAF is based); Alejandro Frangi, coordinator of the European Project @neurIST; Joel Baquet, European Commission officer within the Unit “ICT for Health”.

The event has been considered a success by the those, who participated in an intense debate about various technological and organisation aspects of extreme international excellence. The meeting confirmed that within Europe there are high competences in the filed of biomedical informatics and computational bioengineering but, a scientific and operative coordination, between the two, is missing.

On one side, at the scientific level, the community it-self should organise periodic meetings among the biomedical software developers; on the other one, the participants in the round table agreed on the fact that the operative coordination of the projects for the development of big software for research (such as ITK project within the USA) is possible only through a strategic action at European Level.

Annalisa Bandieri | alfa
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