[Beowulf] El Reg: AMD reveals potent parallel processing breakthrough

Vincent Diepeveen diep at xs4all.nl
Sat May 11 02:06:58 PDT 2013

On May 11, 2013, at 2:17 AM, Lux, Jim (337C) wrote:

> I agree with you..
> But proving that you can build a HPC using whatever, be it PS/3s or  
> Furbys or nVidia cards, if you can't find people to program it,  
> that's a problem.
> (As someone who proposed building a cluster with Arduinos, I  
> recognize that I am eating my own dogfood now...  But I DO happen  
> to have 5 Arduino Uno Ethernets here in my desk drawer, and I have  
> a 5 port hub/switch as well.  The switch claims 1 Gbps, so I  
> probably won't have to worry about saturating its bisection  
> bandwidth. Or constructing some sort of toroidal fabric.  Funny, I  
> don't see an implementation of MPIduino anywhere though.)

That's because if you produce a product it's cheaper to have your own  
board designed and you put on it the chip that's fast enough for your  

That's far cheaper than using existing combination of boards.
To give one example for the robot i'm building.

A kind of tankchassis with robotarm on it, i want to drive a few DC  
motors and a bunch of servo's. as well as robot vision with a camera.

Clustering 40 Mhz cpu's (or clocked something low like that) is  
pretty stupid then if alternative is for example a board from odroid  
or so that has a quad core ARM a9 on it.

That's $89 for the U2 with a quad core 1.7Ghz chip and $69 for quad  
core 1.4Ghz

A lot cheaper and faster practically for vision software than any of  
your r-pi/arduino cluster ideas :)


Even then this means a lot of boards for a high price, not to mention  
all the motordrivers. Like 3-4 boards to steer the thing.

Much cheaper and faster is 1 board that integrates it all at the same  
time. Quadcore chip on it, and ways to drive the motors,
at a fraction of the cost a board as compared to all the boards  
needed in your cluster :)

> Jim Lux
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Prentice Bisbal [mailto:prentice at rdi2.rutgers.edu] On Behalf  
> Of Prentice Bisbal
> Sent: Friday, May 10, 2013 7:25 AM
> To: Lux, Jim (337C)
> Cc: beowulf at beowulf.org
> Subject: Re: [Beowulf] El Reg: AMD reveals potent parallel  
> processing breakthrough
> On 05/10/2013 12:04 AM, Lux, Jim (337C) wrote:
>> On 5/8/13 6:41 PM, "Prentice Bisbal" <prentice.bisbal at rutgers.edu>  
>> wrote:
>>> On 05/08/2013 09:41 AM, Lux, Jim (337C) wrote:
>>>> The game console business is a strange one, and I don't know  
>>>> that it
>>>> has much to bring to the HPC world (whoa, that will provoke some  
>>>> comment).
>>> Roadrunner's body isn't even cold yet, and everyone's already
>>> forgotten about it. :(
>>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IBM_Roadrunner
>>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cell_microprocessor
>> I think roadrunner is an example of a one-off stunt..
>> In the long run, "easy programming" is probably a bigger cost driver.
> One man's "stunt" is another man's "experiment" or "proof-of- 
> concept". I think that Roadrunner succeeded as a proof-of-concept  
> for using accelerators. If it failed because of programming  
> difficulty, that's a software/people issue. While still a  
> significant problem that can't be ignored, I was thinking only  
> about hardware, and your statement. The success of Roadrunner in  
> breaking the petaflop barrier can't be ignored, and proves that the  
> gaming console world has already brought something to the HPC world.
> Now it's success as a USABLE computer, is a different story, and a  
> valid point.
> Roadrunner isn't the only example of game console technology in HPC.
> Google for "PS3 cluster", and you'll find a multiple cases of  
> people using PS3s for HPC clusters. Yes, most were small  
> experiments, but it can be argued that the reason PS3 clusters  
> weren't widely adopted was a people issue more than a technical  
> hardware capabilities problem - I'm sure there wasn't a large  
> ecosystem of software available for the PS3, and while it wasn't  
> hard to create a proof-of-concept cluster, I imagine the resources  
> it would take to port all the libraries/utilities to the
> PS3 hardware scientist are used to having on an x86 system probably  
> prohibited practical use and wide-spread adoption.
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PlayStation_3_cluster
> --
> Prentice
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