The Supercomputer that’s Raspberry Pi
Watching this video you will feel how innovative and genius some of us are. Look at them, they have stacked 64 of RaspberryPi’s US$25 dollar computers into a supercomputer of some sort. It boasts a memory of 1TB by cobbling together 16GB SD cards in each of the computers running Linux. And what is more amazing is that it is housed in Lego brick casing. Wow.
If you feel like building your own Supercomputer out of these minuscule computers, the professors at University of Southampton have provided a guide and can be downloaded from their website here.
The men behind this engineering feat were led by Professor Simon Cox, who was well supported by Richard Boardman, Andy Everett, Steven Johnston, Gereon Kaiping, Neil O’Brien, Mark Scott and Oz Parchment, along with Professor Cox’s son James Cox (aged 6) who provided specialist support on Lego and system testing. Ain’t that cool James!
And the most amazing thing is that the whole assembly was around £2,500. A bargain.
Ok, before we get ahead of ourselves, Raspberrypi computers are not really super fast. They are powered off an ARM based chip (similar to what we get in our cell phones) with the following technical specs:
- Broadcom BCM2835 700MHz ARM1176JZFS processor with FPU and Videocore 4 GPU
- GPU provides Open GL ES 2.0, hardware-accelerated OpenVG, and 1080p30 H.264 high-profile decode
GPU is capable of 1Gpixel/s, 1.5Gtexel/s or 24GFLOPs with texture filtering and DMA infrastructure
- 512MB RAM
- Boots from SD card, running a version of Linux
- 10/100 BaseT Ethernet socket
Hence, it does not make for a very fast computer, but it does show that we can build something big out of nothing.
Raspberry Pi is a not for profit foundation based out of UK. Their website has this to say about themselves:
We don’t claim to have all the answers. We don’t think that the Raspberry Pi is a fix to all of the world’s computing issues; we do believe that we can be a catalyst. We want to see cheap, accessible, programmable computers everywhere; we actively encourage other companies to clone what we’re doing. We want to break the paradigm where without spending hundreds of pounds on a PC, families can’t use the internet. We want owning a truly personal computer to be normal for children. We think that 2012 is going to be a very exciting year.