The Virtual Microscope
Beynon, Michael D.
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We present the design and implementation of the Virtual Microscope, a software system employing a client/server architecture to provide a realistic emulation of a high power light microscope. The system provides a form of completely digital telepathology, allowing simultaneous access to archived digital slide images by multiple clients. The main problem the system targets is storing and processing the extremely large quantities of data required to represent a collection of slides. The Virtual Microscope client software runs on the end user's PC or workstation, while database software for storing, retrieving and processing the microscope image data runs on a parallel computer or on a set of workstations at one or more potentially remote sites. We have designed and implemented two versions of the data server software. One implementation is a customization of a database system framework that is optimized for a tightly coupled parallel machine with attached local disks. The second implementation is component-based, and has been designed to accommodate access to and processing of data in a distributed, heterogeneous environment. We also have developed caching client software, implemented in Java, to achieve good response time and portability across different computer platforms. The performance results presented show that the Virtual Microscope systems scales well, so that many clients can be adequately serviced by an appropriately configured data server. (Also UMIACS-TR-2002-85)