Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Medical Physics

First Advisor

Jeffrey Williamson

Second Advisor

Jeffrey Siebers

Third Advisor

Randal Baker

Fourth Advisor

Aurel Todor

Fifth Advisor

John Ford


This dissertation describes the application of two principled variance reduction strategies to increase the efficiency for two applications within medical physics. The first, called correlated Monte Carlo (CMC) applies to patient-specific, permanent-seed brachytherapy (PSB) dose calculations. The second, called adjoint-biased forward Monte Carlo (ABFMC), is used to compute cone-beam computed tomography (CBCT) scatter projections. CMC was applied for two PSB cases: a clinical post-implant prostate, and a breast with a simulated lumpectomy cavity. CMC computes the dose difference between the highly correlated dose computing homogeneous and heterogeneous geometries. The particle transport in the heterogeneous geometry assumed a purely homogeneous environment, and altered particle weights accounted for bias. Average gains of 37 to 60 are reported from using CMC, relative to un-correlated Monte Carlo (UMC) calculations, for the prostate and breast CTV’s, respectively. To further increase the efficiency up to 1500 fold above UMC, an approximation called interpolated correlated Monte Carlo (ICMC) was applied. ICMC computes using CMC on a low-resolution (LR) spatial grid followed by interpolation to a high-resolution (HR) voxel grid followed. The interpolated, HR is then summed with a HR, pre-computed, homogeneous dose map. ICMC computes an approximate, but accurate, HR heterogeneous dose distribution from LR MC calculations achieving an average 2% standard deviation within the prostate and breast CTV’s in 1.1 sec and 0.39 sec, respectively. Accuracy for 80% of the voxels using ICMC is within 3% for anatomically realistic geometries. Second, for CBCT scatter projections, ABFMC was implemented via weight windowing using a solution to the adjoint Boltzmann transport equation computed either via the discrete ordinates method (DOM), or a MC implemented forward-adjoint importance generator (FAIG). ABFMC, implemented via DOM or FAIG, was tested for a single elliptical water cylinder using a primary point source (PPS) and a phase-space source (PSS). The best gains were found by using the PSS yielding average efficiency gains of 250 relative to non-weight windowed MC utilizing the PPS. Furthermore, computing 360 projections on a 40 by 30 pixel grid requires only 48 min on a single CPU core allowing clinical use via parallel processing techniques.


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Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

May 2013