One of many extra esoteric bulletins to come back out of SuperComputing 17, an annual convention on high-performance computing, is that one of many largest US scientific establishments is investing in Raspberry Pi-based clusters to assist in improvement work. The Los Alamos Nationwide Laboratory’s Excessive Efficiency Computing Division now has entry to 750-node Raspberry Pi clusters as a part of step one in direction of a improvement program to help in programming a lot bigger machines.
The platform at LANL leverages a modular cluster design from BitScope Designs, with 5 rack-mount Bitscope Cluster Modules, every with 150 Raspberry Pi boards with built-in community switches. With every of the 750 chips packing 4 cores, it presents a 3000-core extremely parallelizable platform that emulates an ARM-based supercomputer, permitting researchers to check improvement code with out requiring a power-hungry machine at vital value to the taxpayer. The complete 750-node cluster, working 2-Three W per processor, runs at 1000W idle, 3000W at typical and 4000W at peak (with the switches) and is considerably cheaper, if additionally computationally rather a lot slower. After improvement utilizing the Pi clusters, frameworks can then be ported to the bigger scale supercomputers out there at LANL, resembling Trinity and Crossroads.
“It’s not like you’ll be able to preserve a petascale machine round for R&D work in scalable techniques software program. The Raspberry Pi modules let builders determine methods to write this software program and get it to work reliably with out having a devoted testbed of the identical dimension, which might value 1 / 4 billion and use 25 megawatts of electrical energy.” Mentioned Gary Grider, chief of the Excessive Efficiency Computing Division at Los Alamos Nationwide Laboratory.
The collaboration between LANL and BitScope was fashioned after the lack to discover a appropriate dense server that supplied a platform for several-thousand-node networking and optimization – most options available on the market have been too costly, and anybody providing one thing just like the Pi in a dense kind issue was ‘simply folks constructing clusters with Tinker Toys and Lego’. After the collaboration, the corporate behind the modular Raspberry Pi rack and blade designs, BitScope, plans to promote the 150-node Cluster Modules at retail within the subsequent few months. No costs got but, though BitScope says that every node can be about $120 absolutely provisioned utilizing the ingredient14 model of the newest Raspberry Pi (usually $35 at retail). That signifies that a 150-note Cluster Module will fall in round $18k-$20okay every.
The Bitscope Cluster Module is at the moment being displayed this week at Supercomputing 17 in Denver over on the College of New Mexico stand.
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Sources: BitScope, EurekAlert