Data Management

The overall aim of the Data Management theme is to establish a standard data format with a defined metadata structure, and to develop an open source software and data framework for validation of computational methods in PAI. By unifying the variety of proprietary data and metadata definitions into a standardised format, our theme will facilitate exchange and comparison of PAI data, thereby accelerating technological advances within the field. Our roadmap of future activities is shown in the figure below.

Figure: Roadmap for the data management theme

Progress: We compiled a table summarising information on the technical specifications of PAI systems used throughout the consortium. From 2018 to 2021, the members of the theme have worked towards a consensus document for photoacoustic data and device parameters. The [first version of the manuscript] was agreed upon by the consortium on 20th January 2020 (with 75% agreement from 40 voters). After 1.5 years of continuous integration of feedback, the [second version of the manuscript] was agreed upon on 14th July 2021 (with 95% agreement from 20 voters). The final document may be subject to further changes and optimisation based on feedback from the community and a third version may be published in future. The consensus document of metadata definitions was subsequently integrated into the IPASC data format and associated Python Open Source Software Tool Prototype

The software tool enables loading and saving of PA time series data into an HDF5 container; integration of custom adapters that allow for the conversion of proprietary formats into the IPASC format; and quality control mechanisms that evaluate the completeness and consistency of the metadata.

Current status: The current work of the theme is focused on creating a library of open source image reconstruction algorithms that are compatible with the IPASC data format. The goal of the project is to evaluate the performance of each of these reconstruction algorithms under numerous different conditions to identify their respective strengths and weaknesses. The project concept is outlined in the figure below. If you would like to join the project, please feel free to contact any of the theme leads.

IPASC unites researchers, device developers, and government regulators in achieving standardisation of photoacoustic imaging through community-led consensus-finding.