During the Parallella Technical Conference on May 30th we ran the first official live test of Supercomputer.io. The whole experiment has come together very quickly over the last few weeks and it’s amazing that we had close to 2,500 CPU cores up and running within one week of launch. The successful first run is a huge testament to the hard work, skills, platform of Resio.io who built the infrastructure and Ola who pulled together the FFT demo application in a short order. As you can see in the video, Ola ran a live comparison between a test image and a library of name associated images to find the name of the person in the test image. The great news is it worked! Clearly, we need to fix some performance and stability issues with the system but this is a big first step to show that these kinds of distributed low power computers can do useful work.
Why this application?
The importance of FFTs in image processing and machine learning is well established. See this paper from Yann LeCun for example. (For all of you who are image processing experts, yeah we know that this is not a practical implementation and this is not the way you would do it in a production system.) Still, as an indication of what is possible, we think it’s a pretty good demo.
If you are interested in taking a closer look at the application that ran, you can find all sources on github:
Together with Resin.IO we have shown that it’s possible to crowd source a virtual computer in short order (I am definitely not calling it a supercomputer yet…). However, the BIG question still remains:
If supercomputer.io can grow to 10,000 or 1,000,0000 CPU cores, what should it be used for?
We need some scientists stand up and say, “Yes, I need this!” If nobody stands up with an application in hand, then we will need to shut it down eventually…