cluster using handhelds

Bari Ari bari at
Wed Sep 10 23:05:34 EDT 2003

Jim Lux wrote:

> You may laugh, but consider a structure that looks like a floppy ball 
> some 100 meters in radius with sensing elements scattered every 10-20 
> cm across the surface, each with it's own processor that needs to talk 
> to some (but not all) of the other elements to make the measurements.  
> Perhaps not TFLOPS, but a huge pile of small processors, nonetheless.
> Now consider that before anybody would give you the tens of millions 
> of dollars required to actually build such a thing, they'd want to see 
> some sort of credible demonstration that it's feasible to do the work 
> with processors of limited capability, but, yet, still general purpose 
> and programmable.
> Further, one probably doesn't want to spend a huge amount of time 
> designing processor nodes, but wants to buy something off the shelf, 
> preferably consumer mass market. One would also prefer something where 
> the internal architecture is published and understandable so that one 
> could make credible estimates of what that fancy custom element is 
> going to need. 

Take a look at

The SH-4's perform at around 1GFLOP/Watt and the SH-5's at 3GFLOP/Watt. 
SH Linux has been around for some time.

There are a few vendors who make PC-104ish size SH based boards. You 
could build a TFLOP cluster using the SH-5's that would fit into a 
single 42-U rack and only consume around 1KW to 3KW depending on the 
amount of memory used. Memory would actually consume more power than the 

For fixed point only apps. consider some of the boards that use the PXA 
or X-Scale cpu's. They cost about the same as an high end PXA based PDA.


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