Parallella: An ARM-powered "supercomputer" for the masses


Inspired by the Raspberry Pi and Arduino, the Adapteva team has set out to build an ARM-powered "supercomputer" for the masses in an attempt to democratize access to parallel computing.

    "Making parallel computing easy to use has been described as a problem as hard as any that computer science has faced. With such a big challenge ahead, we need to make sure that every programmer has access to cheap and open parallel hardware and development tools," Adapteva explained in a recently posted Kickstarter entry.



    "Hardware costs and SDK costs have always been a a huge barrier to entry for developers looking to develop high performance applications. Our goal is to bring the Parallella high performance computer cost below $100, making it an affordable platform for all."


Indeed, the Parallella platform is based on the Epiphany multicore chips developed by Adapteva. Essentially, the Epiphany chips consists of a scalable array of simple RISC processors programmable in C/C++ connected together with a fast on chip network within a single shared memory architecture.

Additional specs include:

    * Dual-core ARM A9 CPU.
    * Epiphany Multicore Accelerator (16 or 64 cores).
    * 1GB RAM.
    * MicroSD Card.
    * USB 2.0 (two).
    * Two general purpose expansion connectors.
    * Ethernet 10/100/1000.
    * HDMI connection.
    * Ships with Ubuntu OS.
    * Ships with free open source Epiphany development tools. 

    Once completed, Adapteva says the Parallella computer should deliver up to 45 GHz of equivalent CPU performance on a board the size of a credit card - all while consuming only 5 Watts under typical work loads. 

    "Counting GHz, this is more horsepower than a high end server costing thousands of dollars and consuming 400W," the team added.


The Parallella supercomputer project currently has 680 backers who have thus far pledged a total of $76,641 towards a $750,000 goal, with 27 more days to go?

 Interested? You can back the project here.