Accelerating 3-D GPU-based motion tracking for ultrasound strain elastography using sum-tables: Analysis and initial results

Bo Peng, Southwest Petroleum University
Shasha Luo, Southwest Petroleum University
Zhengqiu Xu, Southwest Petroleum University
Jingfeng Jiang, Michigan Technological University

© 2019 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license ( Publisher’s version of record:


Now, with the availability of 3-D ultrasound data, a lot of research efforts are being devoted to developing 3-D ultrasound strain elastography (USE) systems. Because 3-D motion tracking, a core component in any 3-D USE system, is computationally intensive, a lot of efforts are under way to accelerate 3-D motion tracking. In the literature, the concept of Sum-Table has been used in a serial computing environment to reduce the burden of computing signal correlation, which is the single most computationally intensive component in 3-D motion tracking. In this study, parallel programming using graphics processing units (GPU) is used in conjunction with the concept of Sum-Table to improve the computational efficiency of 3-D motion tracking. To our knowledge, sum-tables have not been used in a GPU environment for 3-D motion tracking. Our main objective here is to investigate the feasibility of using sum-table-based normalized correlation coefficient (ST-NCC) method for the above-mentioned GPU-accelerated 3-D USE. More specifically, two different implementations of ST-NCC methods proposed by Lewis et al. and Luo-Konofagou are compared against each other. During the performance comparison, the conventional method for calculating the normalized correlation coefficient (NCC) was used as the baseline. All three methods were implemented using compute unified device architecture (CUDA; Version 9.0, Nvidia Inc., CA, USA) and tested on a professional GeForce GTX TITAN X card (Nvidia Inc., CA, USA). Using 3-D ultrasound data acquired during a tissue-mimicking phantom experiment, both displacement tracking accuracy and computational efficiency were evaluated for the above-mentioned three different methods. Based on data investigated, we found that under the GPU platform, Lou-Konofaguo method can still improve the computational efficiency (17–46%), as compared to the classic NCC method implemented into the same GPU platform. However, the Lewis method does not improve the computational efficiency in some configuration or improves the computational efficiency at a lower rate (7–23%) under the GPU parallel computing environment. Comparable displacement tracking accuracy was obtained by both methods