October 2, 2014

The RAPi Project

My initial setback in running Rapid Analytics on a Raspberry Pi might end up being just a small stumbling block in the end. The only thing that’s preventing Rapid Analytics from running on a Pi is hardware, a single pi is not quite there to run both X Windows and Rapid Analytics effectively.

Yes, I could put Rapid Analytics on a bigger and more powerful machine, but that defeats my minimalistic approach to this project. I want to run Rapid Analytics on the most cheapest and minimalistic set of hardware out there, and using a Pi is a great way to do it (cheap and damn minimal).

After a conversation with my IT director, he suggested clustering the Pi’s together. There is a great article out there about a student, Josuha Kiepert, that built a 32 node  Pi cluster. That cluster runs at 10 Gigaflops/sec. That’s INSANE!

I started pulling together information on hardware and software to do this.  I think I can pull this off with 4 Pi’s clustered together using the Tomcat software. Tomcat is a system to run java in a distributed fashion across several bits of hardware, in this case 4 Pi’s.

I put in another order for 2 more Pis with power and ethernet cabling, an ethernet switch, and some more SD cards.  Total cost is $140 shipped, plus the other 2 Pi’s @$35 each + cables and SD cards.  I’m looking at potentially having a capable Rapid Analytics Pi cluster for under $400.

I’m calling this the RAPi project!

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