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

Skylar Thompson skylar.thompson at gmail.com
Sat May 11 11:21:49 PDT 2013

On 05/11/2013 10:39 AM, Lux, Jim (337C) wrote:
> Hard to beat $19/node plus the cost of some wire and maybe a USB hub to
> talk to them all. http://www.pjrc.com/store/teensy.html
> rPi is in the same price range
> So, for, say, $200-300, you could give a student a platform with 8-10
> nodes made from off the shelf widgets that they could do work on.  At that
> price, you're in "expensive textbook" territory, and the student might be
> able to afford it.
> A class of 30 would only be $10k, which is down in the "discretionary"
> budget territory.
> You could write a library that provides MPI-like or sockets-like
> interfaces, as well.
> I don't know that you could get there with any sort of standard PC based
> scheme. I've been getting some Atom based mobos for about $90 each
> recently, but you still need to add a power supply. You'd probably boot
> off the net so you don't need a disk drive.
> And then there's the physical size issue.  Put together a cluster of 8
> mini-itx mobos and you're looking at a fairly large pile of hardware. You
> would, of course, be able to run vanilla Linux on them.  If you're using
> off the shelf stuff (I.e. Not making a 8 way ATX power supply), it's
> probably $100/node by the time you're done, so it's now a $800-1000 cost.
> That's high enough to be above the "it might be fun to try" threshold.
> It kind of depends on the pedagogical objectives..

Not to toot my own horn, but that sounds like LittleFe 
(http://littlefe.net). :)

Despite the low clock speed of Atom CPUs, we've had a lot of success 
using LittleFe in education - often an entire class will share one 
cluster (there's now dozens of units around the country), and the 
curricula written around them are submitted back to the community via 
CSERD. Like you said in a previous message, there's a lot to be said 
about turning a computational science and HPC into more of a web-lab 


More information about the Beowulf mailing list