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.