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Increasing the Impact of Medical Image Computing using Community-based Open-access Hackathons: The NA-MIC and 3D Slicer Experience

1Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School. Electronic address:
2Isomics Inc., Cambridge, MA, USA.
3Kitware Inc., Clifton Park NY and Carrboro, NC, USA.
4Laboratory for Percutaneous Surgery (Perk Lab), Queen's University, Kingston, ON, Canada.
5Healthmyne Inc.
7Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, USA.
8General Electric Research, Niskayuna, NY, USA.
9Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, USA.
Elsevier Science
Publication Date:
Med Image Anal
Volume Number:
Med Image Anal. 2016 Oct;33:176-80.
PubMed ID:
3D Slicer, Hackathon, Medical image computing, NA-MIC, Open access, Open science, Reproducible research, Open source, Project week
Appears in Collections:
U54 EB005149/EB/NIBIB NIH HHS/United States
P41 EB015902/EB/NIBIB NIH HHS/United States
P41 EB015898/EB/NIBIB NIH HHS/United States
U24 CA180918/CA/NCI NIH HHS/United States
U01 CA199459/CA/NCI NIH HHS/United States
U24 CA194354/CA/NCI NIH HHS/United States
R01 EB020667/EB/NIBIB NIH HHS/United States
R01 CA111288/CA/NCI NIH HHS/United States
U01 CA190234/CA/NCI NIH HHS/United States
R01 EB014955/EB/NIBIB NIH HHS/United States
R01 EB021396/EB/NIBIB NIH HHS/United States
R01 HL116931/HL/NHLBI NIH HHS/United States
R01 HL116473/HL/NHLBI NIH HHS/United States
Generated Citation:
Kapur T., Pieper S., Fedorov A., Fillion-Robin J-C., Halle M., O'Donnell L., Lasso A., Ungi T., Pinter C., Finet J., Pujol S., Jayender J., Tokuda J., Norton I., San Jose Estepar R., Gering D., Aerts H.J.W.L., Jakab M., Hata N., Ibanez L., Blezek D., Miller J., Aylward S., Grimson W.E.L., Fichtinger G., Wells III W.M., Lorensen W.E., Schroeder W., Kikinis R. Increasing the Impact of Medical Image Computing using Community-based Open-access Hackathons: The NA-MIC and 3D Slicer Experience. Med Image Anal. 2016 Oct;33:176-80. PMID: 27498015. PMCID: PMC5003088.
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The National Alliance for Medical Image Computing (NA-MIC) was launched in 2004 with the goal of investigating and developing an open source software infrastructure for the extraction of information and knowledge from medical images using computational methods. Several leading research and engineering groups participated in this effort that was funded by the US National Institutes of Health through a variety of infrastructure grants. This effort transformed 3D Slicer from an internal, Boston-based, academic research software application into a professionally maintained, robust, open source platform with an international leadership and developer and user communities. Critical improvements to the widely used underlying open source libraries and tools-VTK, ITK, CMake, CDash, DCMTK-were an additional consequence of this effort. This project has contributed to close to a thousand peer-reviewed publications and a growing portfolio of US and international funded efforts expanding the use of these tools in new medical computing applications every year. In this editorial, we discuss what we believe are gaps in the way medical image computing is pursued today; how a well-executed research platform can enable discovery, innovation and reproducible science ("Open Science"); and how our quest to build such a software platform has evolved into a productive and rewarding social engineering exercise in building an open-access community with a shared vision.