sunshine25
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Sep 21, 2018 9:48 am

Raspberry Pi as an HPC or Cluster training lab

Fri Sep 21, 2018 9:50 am

One that crossed my mind was classes on HPC concepts & programming OR on cluster administration (maintenance, fail-over, migration, etc.) Hrm ... is that a uBeowolf cluster in your backpack?

Middle, High school and college classrooms could start making their own affordable computing clusters to do experiments & understand concepts of HPC.

The ingredients are simple:
* An inexpensive 4, 8 or 16 port switch. Imagine a R-pi cluster of 14 nodes + Head + uplink ... Wow :-) (or bigger)
* At least 3 R-pi Model B's (1 head, 2 nodes)

You could likely stuff it all into a cigar box or lunchbox for US $115 to $150 (Head, 2-3 Nodes, 4 port switch, power bricks cables, case.)

It probably would be a good idea to have a female 4 pin serial port, the kind used with JTAG connectors, so folks can use serial2usb cable for true console support on their laptop/desktop.

Something that would be helpful is to have all ports & plugs on one end stacked (with a smidge of spacing due to some USB plug's "fatness") like this :
----------------------------------
4 pin serial hdmi [h]
USB composite [c]
USB left chan [l]
[e] Ethernet right chan [r]
o power jack 35 mm jack o
----------------------------------

This would leave essential connectors for headless operation on one end and human display & sound at the other.

It wouldn't hurt to leave some border/margin on the circuit board's long edges so the R-pi could be slid into small case's track ala Blade-style. The old Radio Shack and Jameco cases were designed that way.

The biggest challenge would be things supporting the R-pi boards. The wall-wart power supplies on a powerstrip or UPS would take up more room than the cluster itself. LOL. Sounds like an electrical engineering project for a student - Make a suitable power supply for a R-pi cluster.

ejolson
Posts: 2173
Joined: Tue Mar 18, 2014 11:47 am

Re: Raspberry Pi as an HPC or Cluster training lab

Fri Sep 21, 2018 8:04 pm

sunshine25 wrote:
Fri Sep 21, 2018 9:50 am
Middle, High school and college classrooms could start making their own affordable computing clusters to do experiments & understand concepts of HPC.
Welcome to the forum!

I built a similar cluster to what you describe using Pi Zero computers for US $100. This thread describes configuring the software to mimic the way a typical cluster for high-performance computing is set up. A similar procedure could be followed for a cluster of Pi 3B+ computers. Aside from the small size, an important advantage of such clusters for education is minimal power and air-conditioning requirements.

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