The Information Processing in Medical Imaging conference – IPMI - was first organized by Francois Erbsmann and collaborators in Brussels in 1969. That first conference was held under the title, “Information Processing in Scintigraphy” as at the time the meeting was focused on restoration of those images derived by nuclear medicine. Since that first instance, the conference has successfully met every two years. The third instance of the meeting, organized by Stephen Pizer and Charles Metz, was its first appearance in the United States and since that occasion IPMI has alternated its venue between the U.S. and Europe. It was the 1977 meeting organized by Randy Brill in Nashville that first used the name IPMI to reflect the broadening community of physicists, mathematicians, computer scientists, and biologists interested in medical image computing in its many manifestations and applications who now contributed to the meeting. Commemorating his contribution as the conference founder, beginning with IPMI 1987 the Francois Erbsmann prize is awarded by the IPMI board each conference to one young investigator for outstanding contribution to the field. This investigator must have given their first oral presentation at the current IPMI.
Standing with tradition, IPMI includes a single track of presentations on novel methodology wherein speakers are allotted sufficient time to describe their contributions in thorough detail. Discussions following each presentation have no time-limit permitting stimulating debate and resolution of any questions or comments regarding the work, alternatives to it, additional possible applications, etc. Further, the paper associated with each presentation is assigned a study-group of attendees in advance rendering a portion of the community prepared to provide real time peer discussion in high technical detail. Study groups often pair younger researchers with field experts encouraging an exchange of experience and new ideas. Often, discussions and debates are continued through meals and social activities uniting the community through vigorous evaluation of avant-garde developments in medical imaging. To permit such depth the conference is limited to a maximum of 120 participants.
Reflecting its focus on depth and community, IPMI is often held in a relatively small and sometimes remote location. Attendees are accommodated together in collective housing in campus or university dorms, meals are typically enjoyed together by the entire community, and by a string of luck IPMI conferences have thus far been held in close proximity to a bar open sufficiently late to host continued scholarly debate. Further, IPMI fosters collaboration through its several social functions including the traditional soccer match and activities that take advantage of the typically remote setting.
For its tradition, intellectual value, and community building IPMI is a conference that many attendees very much look forward to.