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International gathering at UH examines top computer code

HOUSTON, Dec. 20, 2004 Don't let the odd name fool you FLUKA is serious stuff. It's a computer program used by physicists to simulate the effects of various forms of radiation as it passes through things.

A course on FLUKA, one of the top radiation transport computer codes in the world, is coming to the University of Houston Jan. 10-14, 2005.

Called a Monte Carlo Radiation Transport Code because of how it uses random numbers like rolls of the dice to simulate the statistical effects of radiation transport, FLUKA has applications in the aerospace and health industries. This conference marks only the second time that a formal FLUKA course has been held. Its architects will be at UH in the Texas Learning and Computation Center in Philip G. Hoffman Hall.

"Our environment is constantly being bombarded by radiation billions of particles that span the spectrum in energy from those that are unable to penetrate the skin to those that are capable of penetrating miles of rock," said Lawrence S. Pinsky, chairman of the department of physics at UH and organizer of the five-day FLUKA course. "While most of the radiation in our everyday environment is something that our bodies have learned to live with, special conditions such as exposure to medical diagnostic and therapeutic uses or industrial and research uses are situations where care has to be taken to understand the effects and minimize exposures with shielding where it is appropriate."

FLUKA works by simulating a particular environment in great detail. For example, full-body CT scans are used to assemble very precise models of the entire human body. Researchers use the laws of modern physics to follow the path of particles in computer simulations, predicting the distribution of how these particles interact with the matter they encounter.

Another medical application of FLUKA is the planning and evaluation of radiation therapy for the treatment of tumors.

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Contact: Lisa Merkl
lkmerkl@uh.edu
713-743-8192
University of Houston
20-Dec-2004


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