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Using smartphones and laptops to simulate deadly heart arrhythmias

Modeling the complex electrical waves that cause heart arrhythmias could provide the key to understanding and treating a major cause of death in the world. Until now, however, real-time modeling of those deadly waveforms within millions of interacting heart cells required especially powerful computer clusters -- even supercomputers. Using graphics processing chips designed for gaming applications and software that run on ordinary web browsers, Georgia Tech researchers have moved this modeling of the deadly spiral wave heart arrhythmias to less costly computers, and even to high-end smartphones. That could put the real-time 3D modeling into the hands of clinicians who may one day use the system to diagnose and treat these abnormal heart rhythms. The new tools could also help researchers study new drugs that must be evaluated for their potential to cause heart arrhythmias. Beyond cardiac issues, which can require solving billions of equations, the tools could also be applied to other physical systems, such as fluid flow and crystal growth. The new simulation tools rely on Web Graphics Library and can run on most common operating systems, independent of the operating system.

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