Oracle Builds a Supercomputer with 1,060 Raspberry Pis

The machine provides 4,240 cores for processing.
Loukia Papadopoulos

At Oracle's OpenWorld convention this week, the firm showcased what it called a Raspberry Pi Supercomputer. The machine combined 1,060 Raspberry Pis 3 B+ into one powerful cluster. 


The specifications

The company's original idea saw 1,024 Raspberry Pis placed in an old-style UK telephone booth. But it seemed Oracle upped the number of Raspberry Pis and got rid of the booth.

According to ServeTheHome, which first reported the story, the supercomputer runs on Oracle Autonomous Linux as well as Java. In addition, the Raspberry Pis are connected to a series of switches (Ubiquiti UniFi Switch 48s) and uplinked with SFP+ 10GbE transceivers.

A series of USB power supplies provide all the power for the Raspberry Pis. In the meantime, a single rebranded Supermicro 1U Xeon server functions as a central storage server for the whole supercomputer.

Finally, custom 3D printed brackets help support all the Pis and connecting components and the supercomputer comes with a visualization solution. It features a nine display visualization wall that runs off of an x86 tower PC behind the display.

The Pi 3 Model B+ was launched last year for $35 a piece. This means Oracle's supercomputer would have cost about $37,100 for just the boards.

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Because it is "cool"

The device would have 4,240 cores for processing. But why build it? 

ServeTheHome reported that an Oracle rep said it was built because it is "cool."

"Even tucked away behind an arcade, it is still garnering a lot of foot traffic. The concept of doing it because it is “cool” is certainly paying off," concluded ServeTheHome.

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