Supercomputing on the cheap with Parallella by Federico Lucifredi.
From the post:
Packing impressive supercomputing power inside a small credit card-sized board running Ubuntu, Adapteva‘s $99 ARM-based Parallella system includes the unique Ephiphany numerical accelerator that promises to unleash industrial strength parallel processing on the desktop at a rock-bottom price. The Massachusetts-based startup recently ran a successfully funded Kickstarter campaign and gained widespread attention only to run into a few roadblocks along the way. Now, with their setbacks behind them, Adapteva is slated to deliver its first units mid-December 2013, with volume shipping in the following months.
What makes the Parallella board so exciting is that it breaks new ground: imagine an Open Source Hardware board, powered by just a few Watts of juice, delivering 90 GFLOPS of number crunching. Combine this with the possibility of clustering multiple boards, and suddenly the picture of an exceedingly affordable desktop supercomputer emerges.
This review looks in-depth at a pre-release prototype board (so-called Generation Zero, a development run of 50 units), giving you a pretty complete overview of what the finished board will look like.
Whether you participate in this aspect of the computing revolution or not, you will be impacted by it.
The more successful Parallela and similar efforts become in bringing desktop supercomputing, the more pressure there will be on cloud computing providers to match those capabilities at lower prices.
Another point of impact will be non-production experimentation with parallel processing. Which may, like Thomas Edison, discover (or re-discover) 10,000 ways that don’t work but discover 1 that far exceeds anyone’s expectations.
That is to say that supercomputing will become cheap enough to tolerate frequent failure while experimenting with it.
What would you like to invent for supercomputing?