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Parallela project aims for open, affordable supercomputing

Posted: 02 Oct 2012  Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Parallella  Kickstarter  Epiphany microprocessor  OpenCL  parallel programming 

Adapteva has recently launched the Parallella Kickstarter project. The project aims to build an open and affordable, credit-card sized supercomputing platform which offers a 50x performance boost over existing open hardware platforms like Raspberry Pi. The massive performance leap of the Parallella is enabled by Adapteva's 16-core and 64-core Epiphany microprocessor chips.

With high-performance parallel computing currently accessible to only a select group of expert programmers, the Parallella project aims to democratise access to the technology.

The present and future of computing is parallel, but developers are facing enormous challenges in developing code that can take advantage of the exponentially increasing performance offered by today's parallel architectures. Without wide-spread adoption of efficient parallel programming methods by the developer community, application performance improvements will soon hit the wall.

Developers currently face enormous challenges in developing code that can maximise the exponentially increasing performance offered by today's parallel architectures. Without wide-spread adoption of efficient parallel programming methods

Numerous universities seeking to educate students on parallel computing already are collaborating with Adapteva. To date, Adapteva has collaborated with researchers at MIT, Boston University, Northeastern University and Halmstad University to help bring parallel computing technology to the next generation of engineers.

To create a sustainable community around the Parallella computer platform, Adapteva will be raising a minimum of $750,000. The funds will enable Adapteva to bring costs down for its existing evaluation boards and deliver a fully functional computer that includes a dual core ARM A9 based SOC and a 16-core Epiphany-III co-processor chip for $99. The 16-core board Parallella should achieve 13GHz and 26 GFLOPS of equivalent CPU performance. If the Parallella Kickstarter project reaches a stretch goal of $3M, a higher performance Parallella board will be released that includes the pin-compatible 64-core Epiphany-IV chip. The Epiphany-IV based board should achieve a peak performance of 45GHz and 90 GFLOPS and will be available to all backers who pledge $199 or more. The Parallella computers will ship with a Linux Ubuntu distribution and an open source SDK for developing applications for the Epiphany architecture using C, C++ and/or OpenCL.

Once the Parallella project is fully funded, Adapteva will also take the bold step of releasing its existing software development tools, drivers and libraries under a true open source license and will publish the Epiphany chip architecture reference manuals and datasheets publicly. Board design files and board support packages for the Parallella computer will be delivered to the public in open source format and available for everyone to use free of charge and without restrictions.





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