The Monte Carlo (MC) method is a popular approach to modeling photon propagation inside general turbid media, such as human tissue. Progress had been made in the past year with the independent proposals of two mesh-based Monte Carlo methods employing ray-tracing techniques. Both methods have shown improvements in accuracy and efficiency in modeling complex domains. A recent paper by Shen and Wang [Biomed. Opt. Express 2, 44 (2011)] reported preliminary results towards the cross-validation of the two mesh-based MC algorithms and software implementations, showing a 3–6 fold speed difference between the two software packages. In this comment, we share our views on unbiased software comparisons and discuss additional issues such as the use of pre-computed data, interpolation strategies, impact of compiler settings, use of Russian roulette, memory cost and potential pitfalls in measuring algorithm performance. Despite key differences between the two algorithms in handling of non-tetrahedral meshes, we found that they share similar structure and performance for tetrahedral meshes. A significant fraction of the observed speed differences in the mentioned article was the result of inconsistent use of compilers and libraries.
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