Well, technically there’s nothing really super about this. I mean, knocking together systems using software to link them all together to perform larger calculations and work through heavier data sets has been a thing for ages – Folding@Home, by my reckoning, may even be the largest supercomputer on the planet, from a technical standpoint if you add everything together. But what’s different about this supercomputer is the components that make it up – 64 Raspberry PI boards are knocked together using a Lego frame and networked together to do some low-level crunching.
The project started its life under the supervision of Professor Simon Cox, a lecturer at the University of Southhampton in the UK. Along with his son James and several students, Simon went through the long and tedious process of figuring out if networking them into one unit was possible. Said Cox, “As soon as we were able to source sufficient Raspberry Pi computers we wanted to see if it was possible to link them together into a supercomputer. We installed and built all of the necessary software on the Pi starting from a standard Debian Wheezy system image and we have published a guide so you can build your own supercomputer.”
The racks for the system are made from Lego and was designed by Simon’s son, James. The entire system cost around $4000, excluding costs for cablng, network switches and 64 16GB memory cards. The machine’s name is “Iridis-Pi” and uses a networkable messaging interface called MPI to communicate with other Pi nodes in the system.
Source: Southampton University
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