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Parallella: $99 Open Source Architecture Super Computer
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Parallella: $99 Open Source Architecture Super Computer - October 2, 2012, 03:04 PM

Interesting...


Parallella: A Supercomputer For Everyone by Adapteva — Kickstarter


The Parallella Computing Platform

To make parallel computing ubiquitous, developers need access to a platform that is affordable, open, and easy to use. The goal of the Parallella project is to provide such a platform! The Parallella platform will be built on the following principles:
  • Open Access: Absolutely no NDAs or special access needed! All architecture and SDK documents will be published on the web as soon as the kickstarter project is funded.
  • Open Source: The Parallella platform will be based on free open source development tools and libraries. All board design files will be provided as open source once the Parallella boards are released.
  • Affordability: 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.
The Parallella platform is based on the Epiphany multicore chips developed by Adapteva over the last 4 years and field tested since May 2011. 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. Much more detailed technical information about the Epiphany architecture can be found on Adapteva's web site.


Parallella Computer Specifications

The following list shows the major components planned for the Parallella computer:
  • 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 that include C compiler, multicore debugger, Eclipse IDE, OpenCL SDK/compiler, and run time libraries.
  • Dimensions are 3.4'' x 2.1''
Once completed, the Parallella computer should deliver up to 45 GHz of equivalent CPU performance on a board the size of a credit card 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.


Project Goals

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. Inspired by great hardware communities like Raspberry Pi and Arduino, we see a critical need for a truly open, high-performance computing platform that will close the knowledge gap in parallel programing. The goal of the Parallella project is to democratize access to parallel computing. If we can pull this off, who knows what kind of breakthrough applications could arise. Maybe some of them will even change the world in some small but positive way.

The Team Behind Parallella

The Parallella project is being launched by Adapteva, a semiconductor startup company founded in 2008. The core development team consists of Andreas Olofsson, Roman Trogan, and Yaniv Sapir, each with between 10 and 20 years of industry experience. The team has a strong reputation of executing on aggressive goals on a shoe string budget. Our latest Epiphany-IV processor was designed in a leading edge 28nm process and started sampling in July, demonstrating 50 GFLOPS/Watt. To put this perspective, consider that the Epiphany energy efficiency specs are within striking distance of the 2018 goals set by DARPA for the high profile Exascale supercomputing project.

Our passion is to design hardware platforms that are powerful and easy to use. To us there is no bigger satisfaction than seeing someone use our platform for a purpose that we could never have imagined.
Some of the testimonials we received for our work on the Epiphany architecture:
"In the course of my travels around the world I have been fortunate enough to meet some truly great engineers. However, it's rare that I am completely blown away by someone on the engineering front. At least, this was true until I was introduced to Andreas Olofsson, president and architect of Adapteva Inc. As far as I am concerned, Andreas is "an engineer's engineer.", Clive Maxfield, EETimes
"Adapteva, with its laser focus on floating point performance and with no allegiance to either the x86 instruction set or graphics support, is able to squeeze a lot more performance per watt out its design." Michael Feldman, HPCWire
“Visual computing can enable gesture-based gaming, advanced user interfaces, augmented reality, and even improved health and safety. Visual processing, however, requires many more flops than voice processing. Adapteva’s architecture can deliver the performance required for visual computing.” Linley Gwennap, Industry Analyst
"Andreas and his team have managed a rather fantastic feat: to develop a genuinely useful microprocessor with many task-parallel cores, operating within the power-budget of smart-phones and embedded devices. Accomplishing all this with a team of only a few full-time employees may seem unbelievable, but I’ve seen how he operates his company and the magic is simple: Focus on the simplest solution to any given task, hire a consultant when you need expert advice, and stick to all schedules!" Magnus Snorrason
The Epiphany story has been well documented over the last year in the press. The complete set of Epiphany online articles can be found here.



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October 2, 2012, 08:36 PM

Agreed interesting concept, but just like One Laptop Per Child, I think they will hit a barrier in making their price point etc.. but let's hope not , I'd love a 45Ghz Machine for $100!


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October 2, 2012, 11:04 PM

Imagine the kind of crazy 'ish you could do with a 30+ Ghz machine!
I'll tell you who hears this most and probably gets a bit tense, Sony and Microsoft.
Layer this on top of a fully spec'd out GPU, and suddenly you have a monster gaming system for $300 with specs that blow their consoles out the water. All that's needed is game developer support, and what game developer would not love to design on an open architecture system where they do not have to SNY/MSFT millions in dev kit and licensee fees and then pay them 30pts royalty on each copy sold or produced.



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October 25, 2012, 08:10 AM

Looks like they are just about out of time, they may not reach their goal.


Parallella: A Supercomputer For Everyone by Adapteva — Kickstarter


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October 25, 2012, 08:12 AM

*gasp* A kickstarter campaign that doesn't hit its goal or doesn't deliver when it DOES hit its goal? No way!


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October 25, 2012, 08:55 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by ClemsonJeeper View Post
*gasp* A kickstarter campaign that doesn't hit its goal or doesn't deliver when it DOES hit its goal? No way!
Wait, Forum Runner 2 is not going to be proxied on KS?



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October 25, 2012, 08:56 AM

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Wait, Forum Runner 2 is not going to be proxied on KS?
I signed a noncompete.


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