My Name is Brian and I Build DIY-Supercomputers

Brian ist Coder bei Twitter und baut zuhause einen Cray-1-inspirierten Supercomputer mit stattlichen 208 GFLOPs. Zum Vergleich: Ein handelsüblicher 3GHz-Prozessor hat 12 GFLOPs. Das Teil landet sicher nicht auf der Top500-Liste der Supercomputer (deren letzter Platz hat 117.8 TeraFLOPs, das sind rund 117.000 GFLOPs), aber für DIY ist das doch mehr als anständig. Und optisch isses natürlich reinster Hardware-Porn.

I’m building a low-power general purpose compute cluster. I want it to be able to take advantage of standard distributed system packages so that there’s a familiar developer model. The Parallella boards are great for computation but since they have relatively limited storage and memory, I added two Intel NUCs. Each NUC has 1x Intel i3, 16GB RAM, 120GB SSD, 802.11ac WiFi and are also pretty low-power. The NUCs run Ubuntu server and are storage hosts and the primary interface to the external world. The system has 8x Parallella boards and a shared gigabit Ethernet switch, giving a peak performance of around 208 GFLOPs.

The physical assembly is inspired by the Cray-1 and Connection Machine supercomputers, also the new Mac Pro. It is 16″ high, with a 12” diameter and 3″ high base. Starting with the original motivation of creating a cooling tower for the 8 Parallella boards (Mac Pro style), the design expanded to also include power transformers, the two NUCs, a gigabit Ethernet switch, an Arduino and LED strips. In the spirit of the Connection Machine (CM-5), there will be 8x Adafruit Neopixel LED strips mounted on the outside of the tower and each with 16 LEDs, which will show the status of the Parallella compute nodes.

My Name is Brian and I Build Supercomputers in My Spare Time