[Beowulf] why we need cheap, open learning clusters

Charlie Peck charliep at cs.earlham.edu
Sun May 12 15:42:56 PDT 2013

On May 12, 2013, at 3:11 PM, "Lux, Jim (337C)" <james.p.lux at jpl.nasa.gov> wrote:

> ...
> Of some interest would be whether the LittleFE folks think that using rPis
> instead Via Mobos would be worthwhile.  By the time you stick a SD card in
> the Pi and arrange power supplies, I'm not sure the price difference is
> all that much. 

I sent a couple of students off with rPi boards recently to see if we could do just that.  Unfortunately their report wasn't good, they had reliability problems and having only the HDMI video made working with them difficult.  We're thinking about looking at PC104 formfactor boards again to see if we can find something in that range that would work.  Our goal is to produce something that's truly carry-on (we have a MicroFe design now that's 2 Mini-ITX boards in a Pelican briefcase that BCCD developers use but we'd like more cores).

> And LittleFE is truly commodity.. The architecture doesn't care which
> Mini-ITX mobo you get.. If you want to stack up Intel D2550s instead of
> the Via boards, it's no real matter. 

The latest model of LittleFe does use Atom D2550's, and we're looking at AMD based APU units for the future.  One of our design goals is to provide a platform that people could easily build any Mini-ITX based system on, we sell the frame kit separately for just this reason.


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