Thursday, September 20, 2012

Legos, Legos everywhere!

So, I came across this: at the University of Southampton (UK), computer scientists built a Lego supercomputer! They did it chaining together 64 Raspberry Pi boards with Lego.

And here's Professor Simon Cox and his son, 6 year old James Cox, "who provided specialist support on Lego and system testing."

From the official press release you can read:
Professor Cox comments: “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 racking was built using Lego with a design developed by Simon and James, who has also been testing the Raspberry Pi by programming it using free computer programming software Python and Scratch over the summer. The machine, named “Iridis-Pi” after the University’s Iridis supercomputer, runs off a single 13 Amp mains socket and uses MPI (Message Passing Interface) to communicate between nodes using Ethernet. The whole system cost under £2,500 (excluding switches) and has a total of 64 processors and 1Tb of memory (16Gb SD cards for each Raspberry Pi). Professor Cox uses the free plug-in ‘Python Tools for Visual Studio’ to develop code for the Raspberry Pi.
One our favorite components of the project, the programming handiwork that binds all the Pi boards together aside, is the LEGO casing. It’s great that Professor Cox’s elementary school age son James played such a large role in creating the modular LEGO-based server racks; he’s definitely a budding geek and future engineer in the making.

Oh, and by the way, here's how to DIY!