Ultrasound computed tomography (USCT) holds great promise for improving the detection and management of breast cancer. Because they are based on the acoustic wave equation, waveform inversion-based reconstruction methods can produce images that possess improved spatial resolution properties over those produced by ray-based methods. However, waveform inversion methods are computationally demanding and have not been applied widely in USCT breast imaging. In this work, source encoding concepts are employed to develop an accelerated USCT reconstruction method that circumvents the large computational burden of conventional waveform inversion methods. This method, referred to as the waveform inversion with source encoding (WISE) method, encodes the measurement data using a random encoding vector and determines an estimate of the speed-of-sound distribution by solving a stochastic optimization problem by use of a stochastic gradient descent algorithm. Computer-simulation studies are conducted to demonstrate the use of the WISE method. Using a single graphics processing unit card, each iteration can be completed within 25 seconds for a 128 × 128 mm
reconstruction region. The results suggest that the WISE method maintains the high spatial resolution of waveform inversion methods while significantly reducing the computational burden.