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64 Raspberry Pis + Legos = Supercomputer

By - Source: Liliputing | B 60 comments

Computer engineers combine 64 Raspberry Pis and a Lego-built framework to create a DIY supercomputer.

Earlier this year, Raspberry Pi lured the world in with the scent of a $35, linux-powered mini-PC. Since its release, the device has been used for a number of creative purposes. But one team of engineers at the University of Southampton has decided one Raspberry Pi just isn't enough. Instead, the group gathered up a whopping 64 mini-computers and combined them to create one gigantic, super Raspberry Pi.Taking good notice of Moore's Law, the team realized the cost of creating a supercomputer has dropped exponentially over the years, allowing them to create one for as little as £2,500. (approx. $4,000 USD) Combining 64 Raspberry Pi devices, 64 16GB SD cards and a modular framework made of Legos, the team was able to make a system with 11 GHz of processing power and 1TB of memory.

Led by professor Simon Cox, the team has kindly created a detailed guide for anybody looking to create their own Raspberry Pi supercomputer. Head on over to the Southampton page to check it out!

 

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  • 26 Hide
    blazorthon , September 21, 2012 7:32 PM
    GHz is not a measure of processing power and doesn't work that way with multiple cores, especially cores that are not only not on the same die or even the same CPU or even on the same board...
  • 24 Hide
    azathoth , September 21, 2012 7:13 PM
    11Ghz of single ARM core processing power... Wouldn't exactly consider that a supercomputer. But none the less it sure looks awesome!
  • 22 Hide
    alidan , September 21, 2012 7:14 PM
    how many flops? i believe current super computers require 6 ot 9 tflop of double precision.
    even the best of the current consumer cpus onlt puts out less than .2tflop of single,
    and our gpus that can put out 3-4tflops single grind to about 1tflop of double

    so, again, the question is how many flops can this push.
Other Comments
  • 19 Hide
    cscott_it , September 21, 2012 7:12 PM
    Give a man something inexpensive to build upon, and the sky is the limit. Example, the wireless digital camera mod that was in the news a month ago. I like to hear news articles like this one.
  • 24 Hide
    azathoth , September 21, 2012 7:13 PM
    11Ghz of single ARM core processing power... Wouldn't exactly consider that a supercomputer. But none the less it sure looks awesome!
  • 22 Hide
    alidan , September 21, 2012 7:14 PM
    how many flops? i believe current super computers require 6 ot 9 tflop of double precision.
    even the best of the current consumer cpus onlt puts out less than .2tflop of single,
    and our gpus that can put out 3-4tflops single grind to about 1tflop of double

    so, again, the question is how many flops can this push.
  • 26 Hide
    blazorthon , September 21, 2012 7:32 PM
    GHz is not a measure of processing power and doesn't work that way with multiple cores, especially cores that are not only not on the same die or even the same CPU or even on the same board...
  • 17 Hide
    Anonymous , September 21, 2012 7:36 PM
    >Some kid is sitting on a billion Rpis
    >I still haven't received the ONE I ordered months ago
    I sure hope you guys don't do this.
  • -7 Hide
    ashinms , September 21, 2012 7:41 PM
    ...Harder to program than a graphics card, less processing power than one of my 5750s. Still cool, though.... I may have to build one of these if Intel ever puts AMD out of business!
  • -4 Hide
    blazorthon , September 21, 2012 7:43 PM
    Quote:
    Overpriced. I spent $2,500 on my gaming rig with 4GHz 6-core, equivalent to 24GHz of "processing power" if you don't include the HyperThreading.


    That'd be dozens, if not hundreds, of times faster than this "super computer".
  • -7 Hide
    master_chen , September 21, 2012 7:44 PM
    Quote:
    Raspberry Piss
  • 2 Hide
    GabZDK , September 21, 2012 7:44 PM
    Well now I know what to do with all my old legos.

    Comment aside, I think it is great that things like this "supercomputer" are available for a normal person at this time, people will always discuss if the power is enough, how much it can deliver, etc. but I tink the idea itself is great and the creativity to case it with Legos just makes a it a little more fantastic

    +1
  • 0 Hide
    busuan , September 21, 2012 7:49 PM
    I wonder what if Apple or Google engineer tweak their exiting existing smart phone design into a base node for a massive parallel computer.
  • -5 Hide
    blazorthon , September 21, 2012 7:52 PM
    busuanI wonder what if Apple or Google engineer tweak their exiting existing smart phone design into a base node for a massive parallel computer.


    That's unlikely IMO, but some dev could probably make a custom Android ROM that'll do the trick.
  • -3 Hide
    busuan , September 21, 2012 7:58 PM
    To continue my previous thought: I believe the hardware and software are already there to make a "desktop" parallel computer made of 128, 256 or even more system components, which individually is a complete smart phone circuit board-sized micro computer. Such a parallel computer would be very power-efficient as much as smart phones; a single component is sufficient for daily work and other system components are called incrementally as more computing power is demanded.
  • 10 Hide
    frombehind , September 21, 2012 8:01 PM
    cool concept. I don't really see a practical application for this though.
  • 17 Hide
    basketcase87 , September 21, 2012 8:23 PM
    They left out the best part from the University press release:

    Quote:
    ...James Cox (aged 6) who provided specialist support on Lego and system testing.
  • 6 Hide
    freggo , September 21, 2012 8:51 PM
    frombehindcool concept. I don't really see a practical application for this though.


    They said the same to the Wright brothers and George Stephenson :-)

  • 4 Hide
    ashinms , September 21, 2012 9:02 PM
    If you added in a few more nodes and used faster chips like the tegra, this might make for a very power efficient and redundant supercomputer that could be used on submersibles and rovers on mars and other planets that wouldn't require as much electricity and could handle loosing a few nodes.
  • 13 Hide
    Johmama , September 21, 2012 9:08 PM
    Whoa, what's with all the negative comments about this? Yeah your home computer is more powerful, yeah you can build a computer with these specs for less, that isn't the point. The point is students and engineers at a university did this, for educational purposes and just for kicks and thrills. Universities always do things like this: things that teach the students involved things, and things that are pretty cool.

    You aren't supposed to appreciate the power, you're supposed to appreciate the fact that these guys put together these little $35 independent computers and linked them all together to work in tandem to make a more powerful computer. I think it's pretty fascinating.
  • 0 Hide
    theabsinthehare , September 21, 2012 9:22 PM
    Erm, why is it only 11Ghz of processing power?
    64 x 700Mhz = 44.8Ghz
    (or 64Ghz if they turn on the turboboost feature)
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