One of the key technologies to enable a PACS is data communications. Ten years ago, when the engineering world was transmitting billions of bits of data around the world, teleradiology was viewed as transmitting medical images away from the modality. Primitive Local Area Networks (LANs) were used for Picture Archiving and Communications Systems (PACS), and point-to-point links were used for teleradiology systems. Networking technologies for implementing a global PACS environment were not mature enough. However, current and future networking technologies offer new opportunities for medical imaging and the PACS world.
With modern data communications, a friendly competition has emerged among engineers; chasing the communication bottleneck. With high-performance CPUs and CPU buses, Fast Ethernet Gigabit Ethernet, and ATM with its tens of gigabits per second of fault-tolerant networking, the bottleneck is now at the disk drive. This is good, because the network almost serves as a bus for a close analogy to a loosely coupled multiprocessor supercomputer, where the various workstations are the multiprocessor node. The parallel virtual machine actually implements this, and a network of Intel machines running Linux actually provided the special effects for the movie Titanic.
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