Originally posted to Data Center Frontier by Rich Miller.

You may not think of the Raspberry Pi as a candidate for high performance computing. But if you pack enough of them into a chassis, you can create an inexpensive, low-energy system to test software for deployment on petascale systems.

That’s what researchers at Los Alamos National Laboratory have done, working with HPC vendors BitScope and SICORP to build a cluster of 750 Raspberry Pi systems. They say the system, which is being demonstrated at this week’s SC17 conference, can save enormous amounts of money for researchers testing HPC applications.

“It’s not like you can keep a petascale machine around for R&D work in scalable systems software,” said Gary Grider, leader of the High Performance Computing Division at Los Alamos National Laboratory, home of the Trinity supercomputer. “The Raspberry Pi modules let developers figure out how to write this software and get it to work reliably without having a dedicated testbed of the same size, which would cost a quarter billion dollars and use 25 megawatts of electricity.”

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