Researchers at the University of Southampton have built a supercomputer out of lots of Raspberry Pis strung together with Lego.
Professor Simon Cox and his team built the supercomputer out of 64 processors and 1TB of memory. It can be powered on using just a single 13 Amp mains socket and cost £2,500 excluding switches for networking.
According to the University, the rack for the supercomputer was built using Lego under the guidance of Professor Cox’s son James Cox (aged 6) in what is his first computer rack design project.
Cox named the computer the “Iridis-Pi” after University of Southampton’s supercomputer Iridis, software which was built using Python and Scratch. Professor Cox used the free plug-in ‘Python Tools for Visual Studio’ to develop code for the Raspberry Pi.
All of the software was built using a standard Debian Wheezy system image.
The first test involved calculating Pi on the Raspberry Pi using MPI, which is a well-known first test for any new supercomputer.
Cox has not announced how fast the supercomputer is. The goal of the project was to get the cost of supercomputing down from hundreds of thousands of pounds to just a few thousand. Work still needs to be done to get the performance up.