Get a supercomputer for $99

Adapteva is selling a $99 parallel-processing board that can  build a Linux supercomputer for less than $100.

Cheap underpowered computers are the new black since the $25 and $35 Raspberry Pi models appeared so Adapteva is trying to flog a more expensive gizmo in a crowded market.

However, Adapteva is the first super-cheap supercomputer. Dubbed Parallela, Adapteva’s board the size of a Raspberry Pi, but packs a significantly more powerful punch.

It has 1GB of RAM, 2 USB 2.0 ports, a microSD slot, an HDMI connection, and a 10/100/1000 Ethernet port – all pretty standard. But Parallela has an ARM A9 processor with a 64-core Epiphany Multicore Accelerator, which helps the board achieve around 90 gigaflops.

The boards can’t replace standard desktops or gaming rigs but it will create a more efficient number cruncher. This board will use Ubuntu Linux 12.04 for its operating system.

Adapteva CEO Andreas Olofsson said that conventional computing 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,” he said.