Adapteva looks to Kickstarter to fund $99 supercomputing kit

By on September 28, 2012, 11:00 AM

A new Kickstarter project aims to make parallel computing accessible to everyone by providing an affordable, open and easy to use platform. It’s called Parallella and for just $99, backers will receive a full developer kit that includes an Epiphany-III based Parallella board loaded with the necessary development software to create any project your mind can dream up.

Andreas Olofsson, the founder and CEO of Adapteva, says parallel computing is the only way for the computer industry to move forward and scale accordingly. He founded Adapteva in 2008 and has been shipping 16-core 65nm products since May 2011.

The design team is now sampling a 64-core chip built on the 28nm process but the problem they’ve faced thus far is finding financial backing that will make owning the platform affordable to everyone. Systems on this platform currently sell for thousands of dollars, a figure that Olofsson says needs to be reduced significantly.

That’s where Parallella and Kickstarter come in. The CEO points out that he was inspired by other successful DIY products like the Arduino and Raspberry Pi machines although those options are a bit cheaper than what he has planned. The goal is to produce a $99 supercomputer with open source hardware and software that’s capable of producing up to 45GHz of processing power while consuming less than 5 watts.

As of writing, backers are bidding on a 16-core board at the $99 price point but according to Gigaom, Olofsson will offer supporters a 64-core option for $199 if they are able to meet a stretch goal of $3 million before the end of the campaign.

User Comments: 4

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EEatGDL said:

I would support this campaign if I had a way and my own income.

wujj123456 said:

They should just put out a tier that will give out a 64-core version. It could be more expensive than $199. But the 64-core version is definitely much more interesting than a 16-core one to me.

1 person liked this | Guest said:

I have a feeling that I have grossly misunderstood the general idea/mechanics behind this proposal.

open source software- ok

less than 5 watts - fine

open source hardware - what does this even mean, open rights, full access to specs sheets and everyone can make changes? Who is going to make and assemble physical parts then and make up standards to use for aforementioned open source programming?

up to 45GHz of processing power - impressive, though I guess doable with multiple cpus/cores, wait did they say less than 5 watts?

supercomputer - what? we must have different definition of supercomputer

$99 - again, what? never mind using words supercomputer and $99 together, they even seem to imply that you can get the above specs for this much

And this was all somehow used in one sentence?

Did adapteva just invent some new technological breakthrough that is on the same scale as transitioning from lamp based computers to transistors, or is this another fine example of weather based computers again?

1 person liked this | bugejakurt said:

What I think is meant with this hardware is that you would buy it for $99 dollars and with it you will have an API with which complex computation can be off-loaded manually from a single CPU to multiple CPUs. You would have the power to distribute a processing instruction, distribute fragments of processing and if for example you have a 100 iterative loop you can off load the 100 loops to a set of 25s on 4 processors. All this can be achieved manually through C++/C programming. We don't have information as to the amount of processors which are available on the platform, etc.

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