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Adapteva Unveils $99 Linux-Powered Supercomputer

Adapteva, a semiconductor technology company, has completed its first Parallella parallel-processing board designed for Linux supercomputing. The board, which is scheduled to begin shipping this summer, will cost only $99 and is intended to provide developers with a low-cost board for experimentation in parallel programming. Industry insiders are touting it as the Raspberry Pi of the supercomputing world.

The Parallella board is the size of a credit card, runs the Ubuntu Linux 12.04 operating system, and should deliver approximately 90 gigaflops (GFLOPS) of performance, roughly equivalent to a 45 GHz CPU.

Key features of the Parallella board include:

  • Dual-core ARM A9 processor;
  • 64-core Epiphany Multicore Accelerator chip;
  • 1 GB RAM;
  • MicroSD card;
  • Two USB 2.0 ports;
  • 10/100/1000 Ethernet; and
  • HDMI port.

Andreas Olofsson, CEO of Adapteva, tweeted a first picture of the built-up Parallella board April 15, followed quickly by a screen capture of a "Hello World!" console output from the board.

In preparation for the release of Parallella, the company has already released the Parallella Platform Reference Design, a how-to guide for building and booting Linux on the Parallella platform, and an improved driver API (application programming interface) for the Epiphany architecture. Prebuilt SD images and software development kits (SDKs) are available on the Parallella FTP site. Adapteva plans to release the Parallella board design files under a Creative Commons license.

The Parallella project was funded through a Kickstarter project that launched on September 27, 2012 with a goal of $750,000. The company exceeded that goal, raising nearly $900,000 in one month. Adapteva plans to begin shipping the boards to its Kickstarter supporters and customers this summer.

About the Author

Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at leilameyer@gmail.com.

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