Testing of a Medical Linear Accelerator’S Computer-Control System

Martin S. Weinhous, James A. Purdy, Conrad O. Granda

Research output: Contribution to journalLetterpeer-review

8 Scopus citations


In August of 1987, the Radiation Oncology Center at the Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology became the first academic-medical-center user of Variants computer-controlled therapy accelerator, a prototype version of the 2100C. Installation was accomplished by the retrofit of a computer system to our two-year-old Clinac 1800. Being well aware of the malfunctions that occurred in other computer-controlled accelerators, we took extraordinary measures to assure proper operation of the new, computerized, system. Our acceptance procedure included tests of (i) mechanical systems (isocentricity, digital readouts, etc); (ii) radiation parameters (flatness, symmetry, output, etc.); (iii) manual safety systems (emergency off switches, etc.); (iv) the computer console systems (communications integrity, state integrity, etc.); and (v) the interlock systems (some 50 electrical, mechanical, and/or computer-controlled interlocks). As items (i), (ii), and (iii) do not differ significantly from the tests for a non-computer-controlled machine, they will not be discussed here. Rather, this report will concentrate on the methods that were devised to test the commiter-control and interlock systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)95-102
Number of pages8
JournalMedical physics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1990


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