Update #53: The 64-core Parallella is alive!

(Kickstarter update #53)

I am extremely happy to announce that the 64-core Parallella board is alive and well!! The 64-core and 16-core Parallella computers share the same PCB design and on paper “it should have been” a very simple bringup process. The picture you see above is a 64-core Parallella board with a socket soldered onto the board to allow for in-place testing of the 64-core Epiphany-IV chips. We powered up the board last Thursday and by Friday evening we had a program running through to completion on the Epiphany, blinking an LED for good measure. Getting the elink read path flushed out took a little longer, but by Wednesday this week we had the whole board up and running perfectly. Having debugged 4 different Epiphany chips and 6 different Epiphany based boards to date, there is definitely a familiar pattern emerging:-)

  • Chip/board arrives
  • Nothings works–>panic
  • First “doh” moment–>signs of life, relief
  • Everything seems to work–>euphoria
  • A weird behavior manifests itself–>depression
  • Subtle “doh” moment and fix–>calm

We will start building and shipping the 64-core boards to Kickstarter backers next week!

Despite all the delays and challenges along the way, the 64-core Parallella is still setting the standard in terms of energy efficiency. In fact, it could be argued that it’s the most efficient computer in the world today! Amazing to think that none of this would have happened if YOU hadn’t taken a chance on us back in 2012!

At one point during the Kickstarter campaign, life was a nightmare…now it feels more like a dream.

On the 16-core production front, we have now shipped up to backer #2,999 and all the remaining boards have made it through assembly. We expect to get ALL of the Kickstarter boards to our shipping partner by the end of next week.

If you received your board already, PLEASE do power up your board and tell us about your experience. The Parallella project long term survival hinges on the strength of the community and we need a steady stream of feedback to make the platform better.

Sincerely,

Andreas

20 Comments

  • doddy says:

    For people who have put in orders (not as a backer but just from the site) when can we expect shipment for those boards?

  • Anonymous says:

    Congratulations!!! I wana buy mine as soon as
    possible. Go on to The 1024 cores!

  • Anonymous says:

    Congrats on bringing the new chip up. I know you are busy but I would like to chat on the phone with you. Would you be kind to send me an email and a phone number so that I can call you.

  • Glauco says:

    This board along with the “Calculate Primes” book from Professor McCanney is a bombshell…

  • Anonymous says:

    Out out of curiosity, how much of the chip silicon is devoted to floating point arithmetic? Floating point is great for numerical applications but I have a number of integer-only apps that also need lots of compute cycles. So I’d possibly be better off with a version of the chip with very limited floating point capabilities. Thanks.

    • eas says:

      My guess is that you are better off with a chip you can actually buy with FP hardware you won’t use than you are with nothing, right? Nothing is going to be cheaper though

  • Karthik says:

    What will be the cost of these 64 core boards?

    • Andrew Back says:

      @Karthik all the 64-core boards are spoken for and none will be made available for purchase, I’m afraid. This is because the Kickstarter stretch goal was not met and so the yield/production cost for the 64-core chip is much higher and so only a limited number have been made.

      • peter says:

        Parallella might consider what the price of the 64 core needs to be and put that number out for comment or reaction. You may find that the market will bear the price. Even if only produced in small batches on a periodic basis, I would think there are people willing to step up just to get their hands (and intellect) on one or a bunch.

      • Eric says:

        I agree with Peter. Tell us what the price would be – you may be happily surprised by the reaction.

      • Karon says:

        What kind of response is that ? Start a new kick starter campaign for 64 core or offer a price and the current rates where you could make a profit in small quantities. If your too lazy then inform us all of the manufacture and there contact details so we can produce the 64 core boards.

        • Andrew Back says:

          @Karon at this stage there are no spare 64-core chips and since the fab changed their design rules, this means re-taping out, which is a time consuming and very costly process. Please be assured that this is anything but a case of laziness. Note also that this is not to suggest that future 64-core and beyond boards are not on the roadmap.

  • horta1212 says:

    Is there any chance another Kickstarter campaign for the 64 core will be made? Alternately, what’s the future road map of Parallela look like? Once the kickstarter project completes, will all work on this platform cease? What impact did the late funding have on this project’s future?

  • martinvahi says:

    Well, as an applications software guy I look at electronics vendors from an angle, that what is the support at system software (operating system, drivers, etc.) and hardware delivery point of view. An advantage of the far less capable Raspberry Pi is that those guys really ship and it has a fine system software support. The way I understand it, the reason, why Atmel AVR 8-bit microcontrollers are so successful despite their higher price is that the architecture of AVR is far friendlier to software developers than that of the PIC.

    May be, if You could prove that You are a reliable source of the 16 core BOARDS (not just chips), then at some point You might not even need any kickstarters for the 64 core boards. May be I’m mistaken, but it seems to me that the main clients for chip vendors are electronics engineers, not end users, and the main clients of exotic single board computers is software developers and system integrators, not end users. Software developers, on the other hand, want to focus on software related issues, not system software unreliability or hardware delivery delays.

    If I were to make a wild guess, if You get the availability of the 16 core boards to the level that people can just order them and actually receive them within a week or two, without paying 100$ for shipping fees, then You’ll be up and running. As I mentioned earlier in an e-mail, a new application area for those small and energy efficient computers is small cluster-computers, where a single box contains a network of small computers and the purpose of the cluster is not performance but security.

    For example, it is not possible to properly audit modern software, because it’s so vast and dynamic languages like PHP, Ruby, JavaScript, etc. lack proper formal verification tools. To make sure that a forum software that serves in the

    https://www.torproject.org/
    https://gnunet.org/
    http://current.cs.ucsb.edu/projects/chimera/

    network does not have the ability to look up the
    Internet (WAN) IP-address of the machine that it
    runs on and “phone to No Such Agency”, the forum software
    has to have a LAN address, stay behind a router.
    The forum software must not have any ability to
    “wget” from the WAN, because the server that is at the
    URL of the wget command gets to know, where the
    query came from.

    A possible solution is a small LAN that is assembled
    from a mixture of routers and cheap, energy-efficient,
    computers. Cryptography libraries often take a
    lot of integer calculations, but I’m sure that
    it’s possible to develop some new crypto algorithms
    that leverage the existing hardware that puts
    an emphasis on floating point calculations in stead
    of integer calculations. A nice thing about
    open source software is that it can be developed
    without getting stuck behind various standards-commitees.
    A creative person can just write software and if it’s good,
    it IS the standard, regardless of the preferences
    and procedures of standards committees, etc.

    Thank You for reading. 🙂

  • roberet fennell says:

    I was a backer and received two 16 x boards. I would like to order 64 x how do I do it?

  • Marcelo says:

    And by now? How are you going with the 64core? Prevision? Regards,

  • Kees Hessels says:

    I would like to buy the embedded version, but i can only get it for 250$ + ?
    Where can i buy one that is more in the neighborhood of the 99 $ on amazon (unlike the 250+ price that digi-key is charging)

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