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University creates supercomputer using 64 Raspberry Pi PCs and loads of Lego

Laura Barnes
University creates supercomputer using 64 Raspberry Pi PCs and loads of Lego

Computer engineers at Southampton University have built the first ever Raspberry Pi supercomputer, held together with Lego bricks.

Named the Iridis-Pi, the supercomputer costs under £2,500 and runs off a single 13 Amp mains sockets.

Team leader Professor Simon Cox had some help from his six-year-old son James, who he says is a Lego expert.

"As soon as we were able to source sufficient Raspberry Pi computers we wanted to see if it was possible to link them together into a supercomputer,” said Professor Cox.

The Iridis-Pi, named after the Uni’s Iridis supercomputer, uses an MPI to communicate between nodes using Ethernet. It has a total of 64 processors and 1TB of memory (16GB SD cards for each Raspberry Pi).

"The team wants to see this low-cost system as a starting point to inspire and enable students to apply high-performance computing and data handling to tackle complex engineering and scientific challenges as part of our on-going outreach activities," added Professor Cox.

The team has published a guide so others can build their own supercomputer.

And what was the first test on the supercomputer? The calculation of Pi of course!

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Tags: raspberry pi, lego, supercomputer, Southampton University, Iridis-Pi, Iridis, Professor Simon Cox

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