Build your own supercomputer: First $99 Parallella boards ship

Build your own supercomputer: First $99 Parallella boards ship

Summary: Who says you need millions for a supercomputer? Not Adapteva, which has started shipping its $99 Parallella single-board parallel processing board.


Linux is the top supercomputer operating system. But while you can build your own Linux supercomputer using commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) products, even with just Raspberry Pi boards,  these don't natively support massively parallel computing — the cornerstone of modern supercomputing. That's where Adapteva, with its $99 Parallella parallel processing single-board supercomputer, comes in.

Parallella: A $99 parallel-processing supercomputer in a credit-card sized board. (Credit: Adapteva)

On July 23rd, Adapteva announced that it has started delivering its first Parallella computers to users who ordered the board through its Kickstarter campaign. The credit-card sized Parallella is powered by Adapteva’s breakthrough 16- and 64-core Epiphany multicore processors.  

"The Kickstarter community took a chance that we could deliver an entirely new type of computing platform for only $99," said Andreas Olofsson, Adapteva Founder and CEO in a statement. "We could not have done this without the passion and backing of this unique community and I’m excited to see where the developer community will take this platform in the future."

The first model comes with the following hardware features:

These initial boards use Ubuntu Linux.  Support for other operating systems will depend on community involvement, but Ubuntu is the recommended operating system.

 The mini-supercomputer board also ships with the open-source Epiphany development tools (PDF link). This includes a C compiler, multicore debugger, Eclipse IDE, OpenCL SDK/compiler, and run-time libraries.

There are also several already ongoing Parallella community software projects. These include support for the Go language; GNU radio, a software defined radio; and support for high-performance computing (HPC)'s Message Passing Interface (MPI). In the case of the latter, there's also an ongoing project to build a Beowulf-style supercomputer using Parallella boards.

 After some final refinements, Adapteva promises that the 6,300 Parallella’s ordered via Kickstarter will be delivered by summer's end. Delivery to the entire Kickstarter community will be fulfilled first and general availability orders will ship later this fall. Parallella boards will be available in different build configurations with a starting price of $99.

Pre-orders of the 16-core Parallella platform for the general public can be made at the Adapteva shop . The standard versions for non-Kickstarter backers will have the Zync-7010 dual-core instead, with the 7020 offered as an upgrade.

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Topics: Hardware, Linux, Open Source

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  • any windows based options?

    If anyone knows, will any of the following be avaiable for it
    Windows Embedded Compact
    Windows Embedded Standard
    Windows Embedded Professional
    Windows Embedded Industry
    Windows Embedded NAVReady
    Windows Embedded Automotive
    Windows Embedded Handheld 6.5
    Windows Embedded Server
    Windows RT
    Windows phone 8
    windows pro
    • depends

      The articles had this, "These initial boards use Ubuntu Linux. Support for other operating systems will depend on community involvement, but Ubuntu is the recommended operating system."

      So, yeah. It depends.
      • He's an anti-MS shill

        he wasn't looking for an answer.
        William Farrel
    • This is for super computing

      Which rules out windows.
      • Pretty much rules out this board as well

        unless you define super computing as running parallel processes on an underpowered board that any 5 year old Windows box could beat.
        • Odd... many supercomputers use accelerators.

          This one happens to be attached to an ARM host.

          In neither case, is the host CPU really used except for communication.

          And with an aggregate 45GHz equivalence (64 cores using 5 watts), it is nothing to sneeze at.
    • Windows Phone 8 supercomputer...

      ...that's an interesting thought...

      If Microsoft ports the Windows Phone 7 environment to Android Linux, it could be done in no time. Else, I don't think it happening as Microsoft won't focus on fringe platforms.
      • The desktop

        ...and you've just explained why Win8 is such a crock of dung on a standard desktop.
    • WNU

      Windows is not UNIX.
    • This is how sad the Linux community is

      An exciting new Linux product comes out and nearly every single comment is about Windows.

      What a damning statement about the Linux community.
      • No

        No, it's a damning statement about ZDNet, where 80% of comments are fanboys pi$$ing all over articles about operating systems other than The One True OS whose honor they have sworn to uphold.
        • Fanboys? Like who?

          Like DrWong, ammohunt, and danbi?

          You admit these people are fanboys?
          • I've seen

            I've seen fanboys for every OS here. Folks whose only purpose in life seems to be to spread FUD about Operating Systems other than their own preferred OS. I honestly don't recognize the above usernames well enough to speculate on their posting habits, but there are a half dozen or so who are legendary OS fanboys, and I don't think I have to point out who they are to anyone who spends any time on these forums.
    • any windows based options

      Why would you want to have them? Use windows instead, if you must, but the idea was a small simple board computer that is very basic and windows precludes "basics" in their requirements to work a program.
  • any way zdnet can better filter actual spam

    I keep getting my comments flagged about 50% of the time and these spams are on every article.
    • If they fixed the spam filter

      NONE of your posts would get through.

      I'd stick with being able to get a handful of yours through, as opposed to none.
      William Farrel
      • Willialm, why are you not shocked

        that as Loverock's commented how his wife's husband just made $8798?
  • Am I reading the datasheet correctly?

    The 64 core version gets you 102GFLOPs. And you can't buy that, you can get the 16 core version at 25.5 GFLOPs. For $100. Or you could go for a Radeon HD 7990 with 8192 GFLOPs. Sure, it costs 10x more, but it has 321 times the processing power. This looks like it has a great TDP and might be interesting for mobile devices if any manufacturer decided to make the jump, but supercomputers? I don't think so. They (the silicon company) is going to have to find a lot of nerds to recoup their development costs on this. The nerd device company that just had to design a board looks like they will do fine.
    • The Radeon card you speak of

      Doesn't have USB, Network, or a MircoSD slot, not to mention the Radeon card MUST be put in a computer before it will do anything, so your comparison is not really applicable.