[Beowulf] Robots

Vincent Diepeveen diep at xs4all.nl
Thu Jan 12 07:56:32 PST 2012

On Jan 12, 2012, at 2:58 PM, Ellis H. Wilson III wrote:
>  I think this is likely the reason why many
> introductory engineering classes incorporate use of Lego Mindstorm
> robots rather than lunar rovers (or even overstock lunar rovers :D).

I didn't comment on other complete wrong examples, but i want to  
one. Your example of a lego robot actually is disproving your statement.

Amongst the affordable non-self built robots, the lego robot actually
is a genius robot.

It so to speak the i7-3960x under the robots, to compare it with the
fastest i7 that has been released to date.

It is affordable, it is completely programmable with robot OS,
and if you want to build something better you need to be pretty

A custom robot, except if you build a real simple stupid thing that
can do near to nothing, that'll be really expensive compared to such
  lego robot which goes for oh a copule of hundreds of dollars only.

I see it for around 280 dollar online, and to add some components is
just a few dozens of dollars each copmonent.

The normal way to build 'something better', if better at all,
requires building most components for example from aluminium.

Each component then has a price of say roughly $5k and needs to be
special engineered. You need many of those components.

We assume then it's not a commercial project otherwise also royalties
will be involved paying for every component you build, of course that's
a small part of the above price.

Most custom robots, which are hardly bigger in size than the legorobot,
they're pretty expensive actually.

If you want to purchase components together for a tad bigger robot,
just something with 4 wheels which can hold a couple of dozens of  
such components already are $5k - $10k.

And that's mass produced components.

So building something that actually is more functional, better,  
that's not
gonna be easy.

It's a genius robot, really is.

In itself it's not really a lot more expensive , if you produce  
something in the quantities at which lego produces it,
to build a bigger robot.

The reason the lego robot is very small. has really to do with safety.

Big robots rare really dangerous you know.

In cars they use already dozens of cpu's, already 10+ year old cars  
have easily over 100 cpu's inside,
just for safety, with the intend that components of the car don't  
damage humankind.

Robotsoftware is far too primitive there yet. No nothing safety  

In all that, the lego robot is really a genius thing.

Very bad example of what you 'tried' to show with some fake arguments.

> Point in case, I got interested in HPC/Beowulfery back in 2006, read
> RGBs book and a few other texts on it, and finally found a small group
> (4) of unused PIIIs to play on in the attic of one of my college's
> buildings.  Did I learn how to setup a reasonable cluster?  Yes.   
> Was it
> slow as dirt compared to then modern Intel and AMD processors?  Of
> course.  But did the experience get me so completely hooked on
> HPC/Cluster research that I went on to pursue a PHD on the topic?
> Absolutely.
> Granted, I'm just one data point, but I think Jim's idea has all the
> right components for a great educational experience.
> Best,
> ellis
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