Now in 3D: Deep learning techniques help visualize X-ray data in three dimensions

Computers have been able to quickly process 2D images for some time. Your cell phone can snap digital photographs and manipulate them in a number of ways. Much more difficult, however, is processing an image in three dimensions, and doing it in a timely manner. The mathematics are more complex, and crunching those numbers, even on a supercomputer, takes time.

That’s the challenge a group of scientists from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory is working to overcome. Artificial intelligence has emerged as a versatile solution to the issues posed by big data processing. For scientists who use the Advanced Photon Source (APS), a DOE Office of Science User Facility at Argonne, to process 3D images, it may be the key to turning X-ray data into visible, understandable shapes at a much faster rate. A breakthrough in this area could have implications for astronomy, electron microscopy and other areas of science dependent on large amounts of 3D data.

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