From Games to Science: Building A Raspberry Pi Cluster for Visualization and Teaching
Wednesday, January 15, 2014
11:00 - Noon PST / 2:00 – 3:00 PM EST
Rick Wagner, Ph.D. Candidate
HPC Systems Manager, SDSC
Register for SDSC Webinar - Wednesday, January 15, 2014: "From Games to Science"
Webinar Abstract: The heart of the San Diego Supercomputer Center is making computers work in concert, and as networks become faster, multicore processor are the norm, and accelerators like GPUs and the Xeon Phi become more prevalent, the skills to make these elements work synchronously are critical. Right now, there are few course on parallel programming and distributed architecture at the undergraduate level and below, but the basic concepts aren’t difficult. To familiarize students with these topics, we have built a Linux cluster--named Meteor--using 16 Raspberry Pi computers driving a grid of 15 LCD panels that demonstrates how computers multiply their capability when working together.
The goal of Meteor is to educate students of all ages about parallel computing by providing an easy-to understand, tangible model of how computers can work together. The system has been used as a presentation tool for demonstrations, with all of its components laid out in front of the audience in a fun, informal learning environment. Meteor also doubles as an exploration platform; for example, students have written parallel games and distributed programs visualizing data from the SDSC machine room. This kind of development and learning is what the Raspberry Pi is ideal for: taking a complex problem and allowing someone to solve it in a simple, unconstrained environment. This encourages students to design new systems that we haven’t yet imagined.