October 19, 2009
Following a first preparatory meeting in Heidelberg (DE), a group of researchers representing some of the most advanced open source initiatives in the area of medical imaging and modelling met in Oxford (UK) on 25th September 2009 to join forces in a new open source project called “Common Tool Kit” that could rapidly become the most important software resource worldwide in the domain of biomedical visualisation and computing.
The fundamental idea behind this initiative is to stop re-inventing the wheel, and join forces on those aspects that form the basics of each biomedical software package, allowing the researchers to concentrate on those specific features that constitute the true innovation.
In the Heidelberg preparatory meeting the general interest of all participants was verified together with a sufficient level of commonalities to make this goal feasible. Minutes of the Heidelberg and Oxford meeting as well as the list of participants can be found at the project’s web page.
The Oxford meeting established some ground rules for the future Common Tool Kit (CTK), such as that it will be distributed as a Free Open Source Software (FOSS) under the BSD license. The most important decision taken during this meeting was to establish a CTK pro tempore steering committee, which will oversee the initial phase of defining the scope and the general architecture of the toolkit. Representatives of the organisations that attended the Oxford meeting will form this committee. The rest of the community interested in the development of CTK will be able to follow the works of the steering committee via the project’s web page.
“We expect that the initial phase will require approximately one year. At the end of it we shall launch an all-inclusive full open source project, where anyone will be allowed to contribute to the software development, and the governing bodies will be formed by community of practice that will form around the CTK project” said Prof. Hans-Peter Meinzer, director of the Division of Medical and Biological Informatics at the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) and first promoter of the CTK initiative.
“There is a strategic resonance between the scopes of CTK and the Virtual Physiological Human initiative we are promoting in Europe” said Marco Viceconti, coordinator of VPHOP project. “In quality of responsible for the outreach within the VPH Network of Excellence, I shall ensure that all key achievements of the CTK initiative are disseminated within the VPH community, and properly coordinated with the general effort to form the so-called VPH toolkit, of which CTK could become an important component”.