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GPU-accelerated ANLM filter for MC denoising

The Monte Carlo (MC) method is widely recognized as the gold standard for modeling light propagation inside turbid media. Due to the stochastic nature of this method, MC simulations suffer from inherent stochastic noise. Launching large numbers of photons can reduce noise but results in significantly greater computation times, even with graphics processing units (GPU)-based acceleration. We develop a 3-D GPU-accelerated adaptive nonlocal means (ANLM) filter to denoise MC simulation outputs. This filter can effectively suppress the spatially varying stochastic noise present in low-photon MC simulations and improve the image signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) by over 5 dB. This is equivalent to the SNR improvement of running nearly 3.5  ×   more photons. The developed GPU-ANLM filter not only can enhance three-dimensional MC photon simulation results but also be a valuable tool for noise reduction in other volumetric images such as MRI and CT scans.

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Yuan, Yaoshen, et al. "Graphics processing units-accelerated adaptive nonlocal means filter for denoising three-dimensional Monte Carlo photon transport simulations." Journal of biomedical optics 23.12 (2018): 121618.

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