As many problems are faced by Computer Science, one of them can be crossed of the “to solve” list. Lack of cheap & open parallel hardware and proper development tools, parallel computing has been a great challenge for programmers. Raspberry Pi and Arduino are the inspiration that created a need for a truly open, high-performance computing platform that will seal up the knowledge cracks in parallel programing. Parallella project makes parallel programming accessible to everyone.If (& when) this is accomplished, it will open a whole new phase of breakthrough applications. & maybe just maybe, this can end all wars on Earth! Alright, that might be a bit of an exaggeration but positive change can come about in this world because of Parallella project.
To make parallel computing present everywhere, developers need to obtain a platform that is AFFORDABLE, OPEN & EASY TO USE. The destination of the Parallella project is to provide such a platform. Here are the three pillars that the Parallella project is based on:
- 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 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 Epiphany multicore chips created by Adapteva provided the basis of the Parallella project over the last 4 years and have been field tested since May 2011. The Epiphany chips are made of a scalable array of simply RISC processors programmable in C/C++ connected together with a fast on a chip network within single shared memory architecture.
Adapteva’s web site.is a great source for further information about the Epiphany architecture.
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”
It is expected of Parallella computer to deliver up to 45 GHz of equivalent CPU performance on a board the size of a credit card (yeah that piece of plastic that you already maxed out on computer hardware) while engaging only 5 watt under typical workloads. To put it as simply, 45 GHz is more horsepower than a high end server which can normally cost thousands of dollars and absorb 400W.