Radio  /  Shows  /  The Browsers  / 

Researchers Have Fun Building Super Computer With Toys

By The Browser


Engineers at the University of Southampton created a supercomputer, using Lego and tiny, credit card sized hobby computers. The supercomputer is named ‘Iris Pi' and consists of 64 Raspberry Pi computational devices. Intended as affordable devices for young people, the small Raspberry Pi plugs into televisions and works much like an actual PC, performing many tasks like word-processing and games.The engineering team programed the 64 curio computers with an open source operating system called Debian Wheezy, and linked them using ethernet cabling. 6-year-old Simon Cox, son of the lead engineer Professor Cox, designed the entire racking system using his Legos. The end result: a supercomputer with 1TB of memory, costing around $4000. Which, compared to the $215-million supercomputer at Los Alamos National Laboratory, is surprisingly affordable.

Professor Cox said, "the team want 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."

Want to build your own Raspberry Pi-based supercomputer? The Southampton engineers have published instructions: