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The effective visualization, data processing, analysis and interaction of medical images and ancillary data is a complex process requiring sophisticated and efficient software tools. Further, the development of new tools requires a productive and widely supported software environment. In such an environment, the human-computer interface plays a critical role in the overall effectiveness of the software tools. To this end, the Slicer graphical user interface (GUI) is to be significantly enhanced by the adoption of the standard and widely used Qt GUI toolkit. Qt has recently changed its licensing terms, meaning that it is now compatible with Slicer's commitment to open systems. Further, Qt is now recognized as the defacto standard, cross-platform GUI toolkit, offering superior performance, capability and productivity.

Research Plan

Slicer currently has an extensive GUI that consists of three major, logical parts: 1) the core, 2) command-line modules, and 3) modules. The research plan recognizes this organization, and will address the GUI development accordingly.

  • The first step is to replace the core GUI with Qt. This will demand some initial design and planning, including integration of various Qt tools such as Qt Designer.
  • Second, the command-line modules automatically generate their GUI from an XML description of the module. This will require modification so that Qt GUIs are generated (instead of the current KWWidgets).
  • Finally, select, critical modules such as EM Segmenter will be reworked to use Qt widgets.
  • Most of this work will occur in the first year, with completion of the critical modules expected early in the first quarter of the second year.
  • After this, the research plan switches to training and dissemination of Qt-related technology so that the broader Slicer community can participate in the transition of modules to the Qt GUI.
  • The key to this plan is to switch the core and command-line modules as fast as possible since we want to minimize disruption to the Slicer community, and to support continued Slicer development.

Key Personnel

  • William Schroeder, Ph.D., 8%, 9/17/2009 - 9/16/2011
  • Stephen Aylward, Ph.D., 5%
  • Jean-Christophe FILLION-ROBIN, 50%
  • Julien Finet, 50%
  • Sebastien Barre, Ph.D., 5%


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