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back to article Cell phone supercomputing, anyone?

Plugcomputing.org is displaying a 16-node HPC cluster based on the ultra low power Marvell Sheeva processor at SC09 in Portland, Oregon this week. This ARM compliant CPU has seen action in cell phones and digital picture frames. (Press release here:) The processor draws as little as 5 watts at 1.2 GHz, a small fraction of the …

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WTF?

Really?

You ask if this kind of low-power computer can take off--it already has, with the IBM Blue Gene. The nodes are not particularly fast and don't have massive amounts of RAM. I and other people in the FastOS projects work on getting operating systems that *won't* devour all the RAM and cycles. So yes, it's viable.

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Gold badge

Yes and no.

I'd say "yes and no". Some HPC tasks require each node to have fast access to the entire data set (weather modelling and hydrological modelling are the two I know of right off hand.) This type of computing requires either one large box (SGI built a few Altix systems with over 4000 nodes with one large pool of memory), or very fast interconnect such as hypertransport or infiniband. Regular clustering will not work for this type of computation, it favors the fastest possible CPUs with large amounts of local memory and very fast access to remote memory.

A lot of computations split up fine though, and the ARM is a beast per mhz. If each CPU is a little slower, but they are so compact, low power, and cheap to purchase, compared to traditional compute nodes, you'd come out well ahead (in cost and power) just buying somewhat more nodes if there's a per-CPU speed deficit.

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Bronze badge

Web servers are HPC??

"The cost of the platform is also low – around $100 per website."

Ah, say what? I always thought that HPC = massive math. Like vector math for floating point numbers, and such. If all that is needed is serving up a bunch of web pages, then of course a bunch of cheap processors will work out just fine. It doesn't take that much power to fill a pipe with data.

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Thumb Up

Remote terminal device...?

Slap a VGA and half dozen USB ports on that bad boy and we FINALLY have a cost effective thin-client device!

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Bronze badge

Not Awful

Since the chips have a speed of 1.2 GHz, as long as it has decent hardware floating-point, it's not at all unreasonable to think that this could work, at least on highly parallel tasks. With such a low power consumption, of course, someone might put more than one of those processors on a single die.

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Boffin

get some 2Ghz ARM Cortex- A9/NEON and be happy

"Web servers are HPC?? #

By Brian Miller Posted Monday 16th November 2009 23:19 GMT

"The cost of the platform is also low – around $100 per website."

Ah, say what? I always thought that HPC = massive math. Like vector math for floating point numbers, and such.

"

Doh! people ar so behind the times these days, its simple...

for that real kick you just get the slightly more expensive (and it would not be that much more in these kinds of large orders)

get lots of 2Ghz ARM Cortex- A9/NEON MPCore multicore processors and be happy

or some readily available Efika ARM Cortex- A8/NEON motherboards if your happy with using multiple slower and single, remember too the NEON SIMD are just as powerful clock for clock as the PPC Altivec SIMD it seems, so your fine if you know how to stricture your prodrams for SIMD use were aver its availble and you get a real true NEON vector instruction set, not like the old power hungree sse* to play with.....

http://www.arm.com/pdfs/ARMCortexA-9Processors.pdf

"The Cortex-A9 microarchitecture is delivered within either a scalable multicore processor, the Cortex-A9 MPCore™ multicore processor, or as a more traditional processor, the Cortex-A9 single core processor.

Supporting the configuration of 16, 32 or 64KB four way associative L1 caches, the scalable multicore processor and the single processor – two distinct, separate products – provide the broadest flexibility and are each suited to specific applications and markets."

http://forum.beyond3d.com/showthread.php?t=52504

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Stop

Ooops, typo in article

For the guys that made reference to the phrase "...per website..." in the article, what it should have said was "...per their website..." with the intention being to simply point out that they're charging $100 per box. I suck....

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