[Beowulf] Help: Raspberry Pi Cluster

Lux, Jim (337C) james.p.lux at jpl.nasa.gov
Thu Dec 13 15:48:20 PST 2012

On a bang for the buck, horsepower wise, it's usually better to go single processor than spread the load across many smaller processors, unless your application can make use of parallelism (so while you get fewer MIPS total for a given amount of cash, your problem completes faster, and that's worth something)

On the other hand, to experiment with clustering, it might not be all that bad.   By the time you get everything hooked up, though, you might be better off stepping up a bit to a low end conventional PC, just because you might be able to do more experimental stuff with it (e.g. hook up two network adapters, or something).

As far as educational clusters go, Arduinos vs rPi is an interesting choice.  Both could be set up to do message passing and work out algorithms and communications strategies..  The extremely limited code space on the Arduino is a problem, but you have a wealth of inexpensive blinky lights type peripherals for it.

Yes, you could run a simulation on a regular old PC, but there's a sort of tactile satisfaction to having a bunch of little boxes/boards, and it would lend itself to experiments with different networking topologies, for instance: comparing rings, double rings, shared bus, 2 surfaces connected at edges or not, higher dimensional hypercubes, etc.     With either one, you could experiment with things like propagating new software across the cluster, perhaps with unreliable links, or using random mesh interconnectivity.

Let us not also forget the marketing value of a table full of blinky lights computers compared to a bunch of boxes displayed on a screen.  If you were trying to sell the concept to be used at full scale with bigger faster nodes, the working demo might be more convincing.

Jim Lux

From: beowulf-bounces at beowulf.org [mailto:beowulf-bounces at beowulf.org] On Behalf Of Lee Eric
Sent: Thursday, December 13, 2012 7:19 AM
To: beowulf at beowulf.org
Subject: [Beowulf] Help: Raspberry Pi Cluster


I'm wondering if it's possible to create a small HPC by using Raspberry Pi computers. It's only a draft idea comes to my mind. So any issues w/ this idea?


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