Back in October Adapteva wrapped up a successful Kickstarter campaign to build a Raspberry Pi-inspired $99 Linux supercomputer. Next month the company expects the first Parallela boards to be in production — just in time to show off at The Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit in San Francisco.
Here, CEO Andreas Olofsson gives us a preview of his talk at Collab, the benefits of parallel processing, and his company’s quest to make parallel computing available to the masses. Have a burning question he doesn’t answer here? Join us for a live Twitter chat with Andreas (@adapteva) Thursday, March 28 at 11 a.m. PST. Follow the conversation and submit questions with the hash tag #LiveLinuxQA.
Why is it so hard to achieve ubiquitous parallel processing?
Andreas Olofsson: Historically serial processing improved so quickly that in most applications there was no need for massively parallel processing. Unfortunately, serial processing performance has now hit a brick wall and the only practical path to scaling performance in the future is through parallel processing. To make parallel software applications ubiquitous, we will need to make parallel hardware accessible to all programmers, create much more productive parallel programming methods, and convert all serial programmers to parallel programmers. These are major challenges, but certainly not insurmountable.
What are the benefits of parallel computing that make it so essential for programmers?
Programmers that write scalable parallel applications should benefit from processor core scaling just like programmers in the past benefited from frequency scaling.
What is Parallella and where are you now with the project?
The Parallella is an open $99 credit card sized parallel computer. The goal of the project is to “make parallel computing accessible to everyone” so that we can speed up the adoption of parallel processing in the industry. We shipped Parallella prototype systems and open source SDKs in January and are now in the process of building up the first batch of final form factor boards.
What’s the secret to crowd-funding a project?
Launch a project that is important to a lot of people, become completely open, and never give up.
Can you give us a sneak preview of your Collaboration Summit talk? What can attendees expect to hear?
I’ll talk about the Parallella computer and the incredible impact of open hardware platforms. With a little luck, I will also be able to show off the first Parallella boards coming off the manufacturing line.
More details on Andreas’s keynote, as well as the other keynote presentations and sessions can be found on The Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit website. If you’re not already attending, you can still request an invitation.