Parallella, Raspberry Pi, FPGA & All That Stuff

Mike Hewson
Mike Hewson
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That's a very interesting

That's a very interesting article Alex, thanks for revealing that! :-)

Yes indeed E@H has a highly dedicated IT crew ie. it's their profession and training for sure. I remember HB's great talk on GPU's at the E@H 'Open Day' mid-2011. He was volunteer status then and now he's actually employed by E@H. Bernd and Oliver have great skills and were there from way back. Not forgetting the "Masters Of Disaster" - Dr's Henning Fehrmann and Carsten Aulbert - who designed, built and now manage the Atlas Cluster which either pre- or post- processes in the signal analysis pipeline. Plus physically hosts alot of E@H stuff. Collectively they have very focused domain specific knowledge.

Now Parallela :

#1 - I have just worked out how to reliably implement a spinlock based upon the hardware level atomic TESTSET instruction. Gonna need that for cross-node/process communication.

#2 - I'm now working on a type of programming paradigm that I call the 'Roman Legion Model' which has features of both hierarchy and parallelism. The Adapteva chip has really fast on-chip writes but in comparison all else is bog slow. The floating point and integer units within each node's RISC processor are great assets too. I want to leverage these features by taking lessons from the Romans* ie. decentralised task coordination. I'll 'publish' this when I work it all out. Assuming it works at all, that is ?! :_)

Cheers, Mike.

* Basically, when the barbarians arrive everybody fights from the General on down to the cook : that's parallelism. But co-ordination of that effort is structured : that's hierarchy.

I have made this letter longer than usual because I lack the time to make it shorter. Blaise Pascal

Mike Hewson
Mike Hewson
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There's been further delay,

There's been further delay, but I feel quite legitimately so in order to produce a superior product. I do admire these guys' stamina ! :-)

Cheers, Mike.

I have made this letter longer than usual because I lack the time to make it shorter. Blaise Pascal

Mike Hewson
Mike Hewson
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Adapteva have released rather

Adapteva have released rather detailed hardware specs on the Parallela ( almost ) final design. Shouldn't be long now ! :-)

Cheers, Mike

I have made this letter longer than usual because I lack the time to make it shorter. Blaise Pascal

Mike Hewson
Mike Hewson
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Nothing new has emerged, but

Nothing new has emerged, but my reading indicates the entire PCB will consume - I estimate - under 10W no sweat. The current hardware specs don't define that yet ( marked as 'TBA' ).

Now you can run it using USB power from your host system ( but you need a micro USB adapter at the EMEK end ) but only for 'light' loads. Otherwise you need a separate 5.0V DC supply using a 2.1mm barrel connector jack. My best suggestion ( regardless of however you obtain that 5V source ) is to put a quick-blow fuse in series b/w said power source and jack - start at 1A say. To be sure. However I'm tempted to also buy a decent quality lab variable power supply. Of course a standard PC power supply has a 5V rail you could use too.

I know that there was provision of a case mentioned at somepoint, but I yearn to mount on a Perspex type base. Perhaps b/w two Perspex sheets with cutouts for fans. Even put go-faster stripes on it ! :-)

Since I've opted for 2 x 16 core boards I'll call one Alpher and the other Bethe, if I get a third I'll call it Gamov .... :-)

Also they really are credit card size ! :-)

Cheers, Mike.

I have made this letter longer than usual because I lack the time to make it shorter. Blaise Pascal

Mike Hewson
Mike Hewson
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Here's a much better idea for

Here's a much better idea for an independent power supply. One of the seven supplied plugs is a 2.1mm barrel connector. Splice in a switch ( save reaching for the power socket all day ) and aforesaid fuse. 3A max output. $22.00 AUD :-)

Cheers, Mike.

( edit ) I think that this style of toggle switch cover would be mandatory. :-)

I have made this letter longer than usual because I lack the time to make it shorter. Blaise Pascal

Mike Hewson
Mike Hewson
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I have just constructed and I

I have just constructed and I am now testing ( test load with a 1K pot ) a power monitoring supply module for the Parallella board. A fairly straight forward design with fusing ( nominal values at present ) and separate supply to the power meter. The idea is to log power consumption to PC software while computing and also have some voltage and current protection. This is for those who don't want to use USB power to the board, but take advantage of the 2.1mm barrel connector jack input.

Cheers, Mike.

I have made this letter longer than usual because I lack the time to make it shorter. Blaise Pascal

MarkJ
MarkJ
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RE: I have just constructed

Quote:

I have just constructed and I am now testing ( test load with a 1K pot ) a power monitoring supply module for the Parallella board. A fairly straight forward design with fusing ( nominal values at present ) and separate supply to the power meter. The idea is to log power consumption to PC software while computing and also have some voltage and current protection. This is for those who don't want to use USB power to the board, but take advantage of the 2.1mm barrel connector jack input.

Cheers, Mike.

Why have 2 fuses? Wouldn't one be enough.

I don't have any on my Pi's but they are on individual power adapters. Not particularly efficient for running multiple Pi's. The Pi is a lot cheaper and easier to replace than the Parallella of course.

Mike Hewson
Mike Hewson
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RE: Why have 2 fuses?

Quote:

Why have 2 fuses? Wouldn't one be enough.

I don't have any on my Pi's but they are on individual power adapters. Not particularly efficient for running multiple Pi's. The Pi is a lot cheaper and easier to replace than the Parallella of course.


(a) Paranoia. Ever seen an industrial boiler with three safety valves ? :-) :-)

(b) Expansion. Run several boards ( I backed for two 16 core Epiphanies ) by adding other outputs in parallel, separately switched & fused. Of course this would likely require a higher rated 5V supply ....

Cheers, Mike.

( edit ) To power several boards see here.

I have made this letter longer than usual because I lack the time to make it shorter. Blaise Pascal

Mike Hewson
Mike Hewson
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Update : boards have begun

Update : boards have begun shipping, yeah !! :-)

NB : A test of 42 boards as a cluster came in under 11.90 Watts per board ( ~ 500/42 ) [ @ 16 Epiphany cores + 2 ARM's per board ]. So my supply design will be fine for one (1) Epiphany-III board ( 11.90 being less than 15W = 5V x 3A ), thus suggesting that 2.5A fusing is probably appropriate. Though I might include powering a pair of 5V fans @ 200mA each, so wind that estimate out to 3A. But I don't know peaks yet ... which of course is why I have included metering. :-)

Cheers, Mike.

I have made this letter longer than usual because I lack the time to make it shorter. Blaise Pascal

MarkJ
MarkJ
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Thought you would have the

Thought you would have the picture...

Quote:
Last week we put together the first large scale Parallella cluster. The system consisted of 42 Parallella boards (for a total of 756 CPUs), with the total power consumption coming in under 500 Watts. This makes it possibly one of the densest clusters in the world thanks to the Parallella board!

I see they are offering a Parallella Cluster kit for $575 that consists of:
- Four Parallella-16 boards (XC7Z010 version with backside expansion connectors "PEC")
- 4 Pre-loaded 16GB SD Cards (Ubuntu 12.04)
- 4 board-to-board flexible Epiphany link connector cables (up to 10Gb/s total bandwidth per cable)
- 20 metal standoff legs
- 110-240V Power adapter

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