Team Asclepius from University of Johannesburg is on its way to represent South Africa at the Imagine Cup Worldwide Finals in Sydney, Australia

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from left to Right Peacemaker Dlamini (Department of Science and Technology) Michael Cilliers , Joshua Leibstein, Duncan Coulter (Team Asclepius – University of Johannesburg) and Nyaladzi Mpofu (Microsoft South Africa)

The Imagine Cup is the world’s premier student technology competition, its one way is one way Microsoft encourages students around the world to apply their imagination, their passion, and their creativity to technology innovations that can make a difference– today!

Now in its tenth year, the Imagine Cup has inspired a generation, with a cumulative 1.65 million students from over 190countries participating in the competition.

With the 2012 Theme: "Imagine a world where technology helps solve the toughest problems." as their guiding light, we invited university students around country to harness their creative energy, their technical knowhow, and most of all, their personal passion to step up to the challenge. Team Asclepius came first at the South African Local finals in December 2011 paving their way to represent SA at the World wide final

Student team members Joshua Leibstein, Michael Cilliers and their mentor Duncan Coulter from the Academy of Software Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Johannesburg are our current deserving national winners and they will be representing South Africa in the Software Design category; they have also been nominated for the Health Awareness Award. Their project was about Detecting Tuberculosis in Chest Radiographs using Image Processing Techniques. Their story is one of true inspiration as it addresses a real problem facing us a country, region, continent and the world. Below is an excerpt from their project synopsis.

The Solution

South Africa is estimated to have the third largest number of tuberculosis cases in the world, with only India and China having a higher number, according to the World Health Organization (2011). The high incidence of the disease in this region is sustained through a large number of new infections each year, with approximately one percent of the South African population developing tuberculosis infections annually. According to the United Nations Millennium Development Goals Report (2010) with regards to infectious diseases, worldwide tuberculosis remains second only to HIV in the number of people it kills. To address the tuberculosis problem a CAD (Computer-Aided Detection) system has been developed using GPGPU (General-purpose computing on graphics processing units) image processing techniques. This system is a test bench for image analysis that assists a radiologist in the diagnosis of tuberculosis structures in a chest radiograph by using Local Binary Pattern (LBP) texture classification methods. The parallelization potential of a GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) has been exploited to accelerate the image processing techniques utilized in the system, increasing patient throughput

Technologies Used:

Windows 7, Windows Azure, Visual Studio 2010 .NET

Inspiration: The project started out as an application that statistically analyses the texture properties of arbitrary images such as tiles, clothing or paper. Using that data, areas were identified that are similar to other given samples. Once it was possible to identify and analyze those types of textures, this technique was applied to more complex textures, such as those that need to be analyzed in the detection of tuberculosis.

Future Plans:

After the evolutionary development phase has been completed, further testing will take place during clinical trials. During these trials a larger database of training images will be acquired. A larger number training images will allow increased accuracy during analysis. Possible filtering techniques will also be explored. Another avenue to be explored will be macrostructure analysis, allowing the shape of the lung to analyzed before the statistics of the micro texutures are observed

We at Microsoft South Africa wish Team Asclepius the best of luck as they compete with the world’s best young minds at the finals

We would also like to thank all Universities and departments that have encouraged their students and Faculty members to participate in the Imagine Cup. We would also like to thank our partners, the Department of Science and Technology, CSIR and BBD for their support of the Imagine Cup.

We will be calling for entries for the next local finals in the next 2 weeks.

Look out for Call for Entries on this blog soon