Let's Make Robots!

Uh Oh... Looks like another "Humanoido"

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This is actually a pretty cool project if you think about it.

It is definitely closer to the definition of a supercomputer than whatever Humanoido was building.

It's probably not going to be the most cost effective way to build a supercomputer but it's still pretty cheap and may be a cost effective learning tool with more computing power than a bunch of PCs at the same price.

Raspberry Pi can run Quake 3 with full details. That's a fair amount of computation per node and the communication between nodes can be done reasonably fast over ethernet and maybe even faster over some kind of clever usb protocol (The raspbery has 100Mb/s ethernet but the usb controller is capable of up to 480Mb/s - I'm not sure how you could get two usb hosts to talk to eachother though, some fancy electronics may be needed).

I think one of the expansion connectors on the PI can actually work pretty cast, it's some sort of bus connection. And to be a useful supercomputer one need a darn fast connection between nodes. IBM usually uses crossbar switches which can transfer enormous amounts of data on 256 bit wide buses at native bus speeds.

Used as a simulation of a supercomputer environment it's probably quite useful, one will need to have to cope with same problems as the "real" supercomputer guys have to, just on a way smaller and cheaper scale.

Good for learning how to use the full potential of the BIG IRON!

As a toy or a educational system it could prove useful, but used as a supercomputer, I don't think it will deliver enough computations per second to justify the cost. It got several bottlenecks compared to "real" supercomputers. Here are three important ones:

  • weak inter processor communication
  • really tiny memory
  • impractical to scale

For someone to learn how to create programs for the big iron it is probably very neat. But I don't expect to see CERN order them by the millions any time soon.

And we have seen cooler Lego contraptions, haven't we?