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Software Reliability


- Cancer Research UK grant

"Accounting for unanticipated effects of computer aids for cancer detection"

Principal Investigator: Prof Lorenzo Strigini

Contact: Prof Lorenzo Strigini

Funding for CSR: £37,000 

Funding Source: Cancer Research UK (grant C22515/A7339

Duration: November 2006 - October 2007


Computer Aided Detection (CAD) is expected to play an increasingly central role in the future of cancer screening; its effectiveness may have a large impact on the probability of early cancer detection.

The aim of this project is to obtain useful indications for improving the design, evaluation and deployment of CAD tools.

This project is a follow-up to a controlled study which evaluated a CAD tool for breast screening. As part of an activity in the previous DIRC project, we analysed some data from this study, revealing unanticipated, at times possibly detrimental effects of CAD on human decisions. These results led us to conjecture alternative explanations of clinicians' decision making procedures and how CAD affects them, which need to be investigated. Our analyses were limited by the summary information in the databases available to us and indicated the need for extracting a more complete description of human responses from hitherto unprocessed records of the original study. Participants recorded detailed information about their decisions, but only summaries of these were analysed. We will extract the detailed information from paper records for statistical analysis, in order to understand when, for whom and why CAD support is helpful or detrimental.

The main research goals are:

  • To understand the various ways in which computer aids impact the decision-making procedures of clinicians engaged in breast cancer screening, with a view to improving:
    • the design and assessment of the computer aids,
    • the protocols for their use
  • and consequently contribute to early cancer detection.

City University Personnel: Prof. Lorenzo Strigini (Principal Investigator), Dr. Eugenio Alberdi, Dr Andrey Povyakalo, Prof. Peter Ayton (Psychology Department)

External Collaborators: Doctor Paul Taylor (CHIME, University College, London), Doctor Rosalind Given-Wilson (St. Georges Hospital, London)

For further information on the above project, contact: Prof. Lorenzo Strigini (strigini@csr.city.ac.uk) Tel. 020 7040-8245.

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version 2.4 Published: 12th Oct 2006