The Raspberry Pi was designed to make computing accessible and affordable for everyone, and while it’s certainly capable, it’s hardly the most powerful machine on the market. What happens when you link 1,060 Raspberry Pi computers together, however? Well, Oracle decided to find out in what is bound to be the world’s most unique supercomputer.
At Oracle OpenWorld 2019, the company decided to showcase just how flexible the Raspberry Pi is. It took 1,060 Raspberry Pi 3 B+ computers and stuffed them inside a case, complete with 22 network switches, 18 USB power supplies, 49 custom 3D-printed Raspberry Pi holders, and a web of network and power cables. The result? A supercomputer with 4,240 cores of processing power.
While the Raspberry Pi-powered supercomputer isn’t going to be winning any awards in computing performance anytime soon, it does prove that you don’t necessarily need a giant budget to build a supercomputer. In fact, while many may cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not millions, the cost of the boards alone on this Raspberry Pi-powered supercomputer comes in at just $37,100, excluding any bulk discount.
In terms of practical use cases, well there isn’t a specific reason why Oracle chose to show off the principles of cluster computing using the Raspberry Pi, other than the ‘cool’ factor. However, those visiting the conference have noted how impressive the display is. In addition, Oracle used the opportunity to show off its new ‘Autonomous’ OS.