The unveiling of the Adapteva A-1 "smallest supercomputer on earth"
Andreas Olofsson, the founder of Adapteva, started the company 6 years ago. "Today we are proud to announce the launch of the world's smallest supercomputer, that we called A-1. It has 2.112 RISC cores to be exact, and the computer is based on the Parallella board which some of you may have heard of", says Andreas Olofsson.
"It is a $99 parallel supercomputer that we launched 18 months ago, based on the Epiphany architecture."
"In the A-1 machine, we actually include our 64-core Epiphany board, which has much more performance with exactly the same power. So, this is how we get over 2.000 cores. The system has 32 computer nodes and each node has 66 cores, two of which are ARM cores and 64 are Epiphany cores. Together with that, we implemented off-the-shelf switches and DC power supplies. So, all in all this 2.000-core cluster consumes just about some 200 Watt.
Interview with Adapteva founder Andreas Olofsson about the A-1 and the upcoming Parallella boards.
So you can plug it in into a regular wall socket and I would say, today, this is probably the most power efficient computer in the world, at least in the HPC sector. The whole system is less than 200 Watt, which is 16 Gflop/s per Watt: very high if you compare it to the TOP500 supercomputers today, where the rate is about 2-3 Gflop/s per Watt. So the fact that we have done this in a kind of "toy" prototype system - the way it stands at 16 Gflop/s per Watt - I think says something about the Epiphany architecture.
So of course, one of the big things about these boards, what gets many people excited, is the price point. We are selling the 16-core version for about $99.
In July, we are going to relaunch the board with three different levels, slightly higher than $99, but still very attainable. And the board is completely open source, it is completely documented. So what you see is what you get, which gets a lot of universities and research institutes excited, because it is not a binary blob: you can actually understand what you are writing for and how it behaves. So if you are interested, go to our shop and order a board.