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Nickname: Clive Maxfield     Articles(406)    Visits(454076)    Comments(34)    Votes(162)    RSS
There is so much amazingly cool "stuff" to see and do that I'm amazed I find the time to get any real work done. In my blog I will waffle on about the books I'm reading, the projects I'm building, and the weird and wonderful websites I blunder across. Please Email Me if you see anything you think will "tickle my fancy."
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Posted: 03:26:54 PM, 08/11/2012

$100 supercomputer... We did it!


Well, this is such an exciting time. I'm happy to inform you that we succeeded in pushing the guys at Adapteva over their Kickstarter goal.

I think we should all give ourselves a hearty pat on the back. Let's just remind ourselves as to what a difference we made. A few weeks ago, my chum Andreas from Adapteva called me to say "Help!"

As you may recall, Andreas was the guy who left his job a few years ago and – working in his basement and living off his pension fund – single-handedly invented a new computer architecture. Andreas then designed his own System-on-Chip (SoC) called the Epiphany from the ground up – Including learning how to use all of the EDA tools – then took the device all the way to working silicon and a packaged prototype.

When we chatted a few weeks ago, Andreas explained that he and his colleagues were trying to build a personal supercomputer called the Parallella for only $100. This little rascal is to be based on the combination of a Zynq All Programmable SoC from Xilinx and an Epiphany from Adapteva. In order to do this, the folks from Adapteva had launched a Kickstarter project a little over three weeks prior to our conversation. Their goal was to achieve $750,000 in pledges, but – when we talked – they had raised only around $420,000. Pledges had started to slow down, the deadline (6:00pm Eastern Time on Saturday 27 October) was only a few days away, and things were starting to look grim indeed.

A few days ago, I posted my first blog on this topic on EE Times. Following this blog, thing really started to ramp up – largely due to everyone who read the blog pledging themselves and/or spreading the words around via Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and so forth.

By morning of October 26, the folks from Adapteva were up to $611,504, which means that $171,939 had been pledged in just a couple of days! This was amazing, but they still needed to raise another $138,496 for the Kickstarter project to go forward.

I must admit that I was starting to become a little worried – and I also saw that Andreas had posted a comment somewhere saying "I don't think we can get anyone to write any more articles" – so I posted a follow-up blog. In that blog, amongst other things, I said "Oooooh, the things I will be able to do with this little beauty ... BUT ONLY IF THE KICKSTARTER PROJECT REACHES ITS GOAL!!! (Sorry ... I didn't mean to shout)." The reason I mention the "shouting" part will become apparent in a moment.

I also started sending emails to all of the marketing and public relations folks I know asking them to spread the work. I must admit that by afternoon of October 26 I was nervously checking Kickstarter every ten minutes or so. We were getting closer and closer...

And I also started to look at the comments that were coming in on Kickstarter, which is where I saw the following:



Hurray! How exciting! I especially enjoyed the part where Nico says "I like that he [referring to me] starts shouting." (OK, I must admit that I also liked the part where he said "Max is THE guy when it comes to FPGAs/SoCs." Nico is obviously a very intelligent young man with a bright future ahead of him :-)

By Friday evening I was practically jumping up and down with excitement when Adapteva achieved their $750,000 goal. Phew! What a relief!

When I got up on October 27 morning I checked again. Good Grief! They had continued to charge ahead and were now at something like $820,000. And it went on and on ... by the time the Kickstarter project automatically shut down, the total pledge amount was $898,921 – almost $150,000 over the original target!



I can only imagine the excitement at Adapteva. I received an email from Andreas saying how much he appreciated all of our efforts. I told him to stop talking and to get back to work on my Parallella supercomputer (grin). Now I cannot wait for the little beauty to arrive.

Anyway, as I say, I think we all deserve to give ourselves a pat on the back for our efforts here. You never know – maybe Adapteva will one day grow into a big company (maybe even the next Apple :-) in which case we can all say "We were part of that!"

So thanks to everyone for helping out!

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[Last update: 06:53:28 PM, 22/11/2012]

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