ARM-powered Parallella supercomputer poised to ship

Posted by Trent Nouveau

Parallella - a low cost "supercomputer" designed by Adapteva - has successfully met its Kickstarter goals and is now poised to ship to a slew of lucky backers.

The device is powered by a Zynq-7010 dual-core ARM A9 CPU along with an Epiphany multicore accelerator (16 or 64 cores). Additional specs include 1GB RAM, a microSD card, 2x USB 2.0, two general purpose expansion connectors, Ethernet and HDMI.

On the software side, the system ships with Ubuntu, along with open source development tools that include C compiler, multicore debugger, Eclipse IDE, OpenCL SDK/compiler, and various run time libraries.

"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 an initial 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."

As the folks at CNX Software note, the 64-core version of the Parallella computer is said to deliver over 90 GFLOPS of performance, and have a processing equivalent to a 45 GHz CPU [64 CPU cores * 700MHz].

["That is], provided you can run your application on the 64-core simultaneously on a tiny board consuming only 5 watts under typical work loads... Imaging, communications, automotive, medical, and audio applications could take advantage of parallel computing at a much lower cost than is currently available with Parallella."

Additional information about Parallella can be found here on the company's official Kickstarter page.