In emission tomography statistically based iterative methods can improve image quality relative to analytic image reconstruction through more accurate physical and statistical modelling of high-energy photon production and detection processes. Continued exponential improvements in computing power, coupled with the development of fast algorithms, have made routine use of iterative techniques practical, resulting in their increasing popularity in both clinical and research environments. Here we review recent progress in developing statistically based iterative techniques for emission computed tomography. We describe the different formulations of the emission image reconstruction problem and their properties. We then describe the numerical algorithms that are used for optimizing these functions and illustrate their behaviour using small scale simulations.
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