Parallella: An ARM-powered "supercomputer" for the masses

Inspired by the Raspberry Pi and Arduino, the Adapteva team has set out to build an ARM-powered “supercomputer” for the masses in an attempt to democratize access to parallel computing.

“Making parallel computing easy to use has been described as a problem as hard as any that computer science has faced. With such a big challenge ahead, we need to make sure that every programmer has access to cheap and open parallel hardware and development tools,” Adapteva explained in a recently posted Kickstarter entry.


“Hardware costs and SDK costs have always been a a huge barrier to entry for developers looking to develop high performance applications. Our goal is to bring the Parallella high performance computer cost below $100, making it an affordable platform for all.”

Indeed, the Parallella platform is based on the Epiphany multicore chips developed by Adapteva. Essentially, the Epiphany chips consists of a scalable array of simple RISC processors programmable in C/C++ connected together with a fast on chip network within a single shared memory architecture.

Additional specs include:

* Dual-core ARM A9 CPU.

* Epiphany Multicore Accelerator (16 or 64 cores).

* 1GB RAM.

* MicroSD Card.

* USB 2.0 (two).

* Two general purpose expansion connectors.

* Ethernet 10/100/1000.

* HDMI connection.

* Ships with Ubuntu OS.

* Ships with free open source Epiphany development tools. 

Once completed, Adapteva says the Parallella computer should deliver up to 45 GHz of equivalent CPU performance on a board the size of a credit card – all while consuming only 5 Watts under typical work loads. 

“Counting GHz, this is more horsepower than a high end server costing thousands of dollars and consuming 400W,” the team added.

The Parallella supercomputer project currently has 680 backers who have thus far pledged a total of $76,641 towards a $750,000 goal, with 27 more days to go?

 Interested? You can back the project here.