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J Med Phys. 2018 Jul-Sep;43(3):185-194. doi: 10.4103/jmp.JMP_132_17.

Optimization of Variance Reduction Techniques used in EGSnrc Monte Carlo Codes.

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Department of Physics, Bharathiar University, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, India.
Department of Medical Physics, Bharathiar University, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, India.


Monte Carlo (MC) simulations are often used in calculations of radiation transport to enable accurate prediction of radiation-dose, even though the computation is relatively time-consuming. In a typical MC simulation, significant computation time is allocated to following non-important events. To address this issue, variance reduction techniques (VRTs) have been suggested for reducing the statistical variance for the same computation time. Among the available MC simulation codes, electron gamma shower (National Research Council of Canada) (EGSnrc) is a general-purpose coupled electron-photon transport code that also features an even-handed, rich set of VRTs. The most well-known VRTs are the photon splitting, Russian roulette (RR), and photon cross-section enhancement (XCSE) techniques. The objective of this work was to determine the optimal combination of VRTs that increases the simulation speed and the efficiency of simulation, without compromising its accuracy. Selection of VRTs was performed using EGSnrc MC User codes, such as cavity and egs_chamber, for simulating various ion chamber geometries using 6 MV photon beams and 1.25 MeV 60Co photon beams. The results show that the combination of XCSE and RR yields the highest efficiency for ion-chamber dose calculations inside a 30 cm × 30 cm × 30 cm water phantom. Hence, properly selecting a different VRT without altering the underlying physics increases the efficiency of MC simulations for ion-chamber dose calculation.


EGSnrc Monte Carlo Code; Ionization Chamber; Monte Carlo Simulation; variance reduction techniques

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