$8,317
pledged of $125,000pledged of $125,000 goal
28
backers
0seconds to go
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Thu, July 9 2015 6:59 PM UTC +00:00
PicoCluster LLCBy PicoCluster LLC
First created
PicoCluster LLCBy PicoCluster LLC
First created
$8,317
pledged of $125,000pledged of $125,000 goal
28
backers
0seconds to go
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Thu, July 9 2015 6:59 PM UTC +00:00

About

Our main focus is education

The core focus of this kickstarter is to generate funds to put towards generating online educational content. This content is applicable to High School, College and Professional education.

Schools are looking for STEM(Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) education for their students. Individuals are looking for ways to make upgrade their skills and establish real and lucrative careers. Business are looking to train their employees on the latest technologies. PicoCluster is designed to fit all of these needs perfectly.

We are putting together a complete package which includes the hardware, management software, and educational content. We want to make it fun for people to interact with and learn distributed computing principles on PicoCluster.

PicoCluster is a different kind of learning tool. It is visual and tactile! You can touch it, hold it, and watch it work. Most people understand better when they can interact with working devices. This is one of the reasons that robotics is so interesting. You can see the excitement in peoples eyes when they are able to a have tiny robot respond to and interact with them.

Pico Kids
Pico Kids

How am I getting $25,000 in value?

Once the project funds, we'll take at least $25,000 of the money raised and invest it toward generating educational content specifically for PicoCluster. As we hit higher funding levels, we will dedicate more money toward creating educational content.

A portion of the money will be set aside for up-front payment to encourage authors to work on our platform. Authors will continue to earn residual income from the materials they produce, depending on the popularity of their content.

We will work with the authors to help them produce high quality content for PicoCluster. It'll be great to have well known authors on board with us. We also believe that there are undiscovered gems out there that have a lot to contribute.

In particular, we would like to work with women authors to produce quality content to encourage more women to be involved in IT. We also want to work with students and youth to produce content that is appropriate for all age groups.

Visit our site for more information.

5-node PicoCluster
5-node PicoCluster

What is a PicoCluster?

The 5-node PicoCluster has 5 micro-computers called Raspberry PI 2s. It also includes an 8-port network switch that allows the Raspberry PIs to talk to each other. A power distribution board is used to provide power to everything inside the box. A network port is extended to the rear panel of the case so that you can easily connect to your home or business network. An HDMI port and 2 USB ports are also extended to the rear panel to allow you to connect a keyboard and a mouse, or memory stick. Each Raspberry PI 2 in the cluster will come with it's own 16GB microSD card preloaded with software to get you started.

The 3-node PicoCluster is a smaller and less-expensive version of the 5-node PicoCluster. It has 3 Raspberry PI 2s and the ports of the 3 Raspberry PIs are exposed through the rear panel for easy access. It also has an HDMI port extended, but it requires an external network switch to connect the Raspberry PIs together. Each Raspberry PI 2 in the cluster will come with it's own 16GB microSD card preloaded with software to get you started.

We also have 10-node, 20-node and 100-node Super Clusters available for pre-order on our web site. They are more business oriented, but can be useful in a home environment as well.

Lots of PI!
Lots of PI!

What do you mean by community?

PicoCluster is open. All of the hardware, case designs,and software will be open and placed on github. We believe that by being open, PicoCluster can be a much better and much more valuable tool for everyone.

You'll be able to take our designs and modify them and build your own if you like. We've done our best to build these clusters the way we think people will want, but many times, others will have a specific use they are thinking of. Oftentimes, people just want to be able to make something their own. That's great and something we want to encourage! We'll set up a section of the site so that people can share their designs with others if they wish.

Open software is designed to get others involved. If you look at The Apache Software Foundation and the incredible number of projects that have been incubated there and grown into fantastic and valuable projects there, you can get some idea of where we want to go with PicoCluster software. A number of the projects that will be running on PicoCluster come directly from Apache, like Hadoop and it's related projects.

We're building a kind of app store for PicoCluster to make it easier to install and use clustered software. We want to reduce this laborious task to a simple select and install, similar to a phone or tablet experience. We're also building some desktop integration software to make it easy to work with the cluster from your own machine.

PicoCluster will not grow to it's full potential without people getting involved. We invite you to be a part.

A Pico Kid
A Pico Kid

What is a Personal Data Center?

PicoCluster is like a very small version of a data center, call it a Personal Data Center. It has multiple micro-computers called Raspberry PI 2s, power, and networking, and runs much of the same kind of software.

A data center is a warehouse filled with racks and racks of special computers called servers. When you go to a web site on your computer, tablet, or phone, your device is talking over the Internet to another computer housed in a data center far away.

What software will it run?

The Raspberry PI runs a version of Linux. As such, it can do most things that you can do on a regular computer system. This includes things like web browsing, email, word processing, and even games. This makes it useful as a home computer system.

PicoCluster is special though in that it actually contains multiple, physical computers. This allows it to run software that is designed to make multiple computers work together to perform a task or solve a problem. This is referred to as distributed or parallel computing.

Web browsing is an example of distributed computing. Your computer, tablet, or phone is talking to another computer, a server, across the Internet and is getting information back. In fact, distributed computing is the entire basis for the Internet.

DNA sequence matching would be an example of parallel computing. Because the process of matching DNS sequences takes so much computing power, many, many computers are used together at the same time to do the work. A single computer working on it's own may take months or years to do the same amount of work.

Speaking of distributed computing, Minecraft is very popular example of this. With a PicoCluster, not only can you play Minecraft, but you can actually design and build your own Minecraft mods, then use the PicoCluster as a Minecraft server and play your mods with your friends! Since the Raspberry PI 2s inside the PicoCluster as so low-power, it costs very little to run all the time.

Plug in a keyboard, mouse and monitor to use it as a desktop computer.
Plug in a keyboard, mouse and monitor to use it as a desktop computer.

What are we all about?

I got my start because during the personal computer revolution of the early 80s. The first personal computers were not very powerful and didn't run the same software as the large business machines, but that was OK. They didn't need to.

The fantastic thing was that they were affordable and personal. For the first time ever, people had a tool, a machine that could respond to them and do interesting things. It put a certain kind of power into the hands of the common person. In many ways, it was the democratization of computers.

If you read anything about early computer history, you'll find that those early computer companies really had little if any idea how people would respond to the personal computer or even how many people would really want one. Most thought it would never work and there was no need for a computer in the home. It all kind of happened organically as people got involved and supported the community. It was really driven by the users, and not so much the companies that produced them. It really was a revolution.

We believe that we are at a similar juncture in time. PicoCluster can be called a Personal Data Center because it mimics that same kind of environment and runs much of the same kind of software, but it is personal. It let's you be in control.

What is Big Data?

People usually describe Big Data as simply working with very large amounts of data, terabytes or petabytes. There certainly is something to that definition. If you think about it though, there are companies that have always been working with large data sets, depending on the time period, so in some ways, big data (little b, little d) is nothing new.

To us, Big Data is really about thinking differently about your data. It's a different mindset. It's not just about large data, but about connected data. Just having large amounts of data does not make the business or anyone else smarter. You need to have the right people and the right tools in place to make Big Data work for you.

You can read more about about what is big data here.

My other computer ...
My other computer ...


How does this work for business?

Data is the lifeblood of a business, whether they know it or not. The speed at which data moves through a company is the speed at which it can make decisions. Big Data helps to enables faster and better data processing, sometimes called Business Intelligence. The bottom line is either you are going Big Data or you are going out of business.

The problem is that business can't find the people that they need. You either need to try to hire people or try to grow the talent organically within the company. Both of these options are very expensive. Many companies are looking at simple prototyping just to see what path they want to go in Big Data. Even that turns out to be incredibly expensive. PicoCluster solves all of those problems.

The hardware required to run Big Data software is extremely expensive and power hungry. The real cost of running this hardware in a data center is not the acquisition cost of the hardware, but the ongoing cost of the energy used to power and cool the equipment. PicoClusters are inexpensive and use very little energy. A 100-node PicoCluster with 400 processing cores uses about the same energy as a single 1U rack server.

Some of the ways PicoCluster can work for your business:

  • Development
  • Software optimization
  • Quality Assurance
  • Prototyping new projects
  • Operations
  • Education
  • Training
  • Production

Please see our web site for more information and for pre-ordering PicoClusters not available on this kickstarter.

Rewards

Sticker design - 3" vinyl decal plus 4 1.5" stickers
Sticker design - 3" vinyl decal plus 4 1.5" stickers
T-Shirt design - Sizes Adult 2XL, XL, L, M, S - Youth L, M, S
T-Shirt design - Sizes Adult 2XL, XL, L, M, S - Youth L, M, S
Pico Plushie - Cutest robot plushie ever
Pico Plushie - Cutest robot plushie ever
3-node PicoCluster
3-node PicoCluster
5-node PicoCluster in color
5-node PicoCluster in color

Add Ons:

$5 - Add a 3" vinyl decal and 4 1.5" stickers to any level.

$20 - Add a T-shirt to any level from T-Shirt on up.

$30 - Add a 6" PicoPlushie to any level from T-Shirt on up.

$40 - Add a 3-node custom color case. The stock case is clear. We will ship a separate set of all the case panels in the color of your choice. We will provide the instructions for you to assemble the new case.

$50 - Add a 5-node custom color case. The stock case is clear. We will ship a separate set of all the case panels in the color of your choice. We will provide the instructions for you to assemble the new case.

$50 - Add a custom etching for you case. Etch size is approx 3"x3" and cannot be any copyrighted image or logo. A separate side panel will be etched an included in either clear or color if your purchased a color optioned case. We will provide instructions for you to include the panel in your case.

Risks and challenges

The hardware is pretty well done. The biggest thing left is in finishing the power distribution board. The second version will include a soft shutdown feature. Instead of cutting power to the cluster all at once, the soft shutdown will send a signal to each PI to safely power off before power is removed. This is an important reliability feature.

The Management software is in progress, but still needs development and testing. We will be shipping some early access units before the software is finished, but it needs to be in a completed state before we ship the majority of the units. The projects are open source, so you'll be able to see our progress. This will continue to be a live and growing project long after the kickstarter.

The real push for the kickstarter is the educational material. It takes some time and money to produce the content that we're looking to provide. We'll have a selection of material by the time the PicoClusters ship, but this part of the project will continue to grow in value long after the kickstarter has ended.

We promise to keep everyone up to date on progress and to respond to inquires just as fast as we are able to.

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Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ

Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    The Immortal

    Donate to the cause and we'll immortalize you on our support page and add your name to the project source code so you can forever be remembered by the community.

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    Stuck on You

    Show your support for the PicoCluster community by purchasing a sticker pack with a very nice, 3" vinyl decal plus 4 1.5" stickers. Immortal level included.

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    T-Shirt Me

    We've made sizes for the entire family! Wear the PicoCluster colors to show your support!

    Add $5 for stickers, $20 for additional Ts, or $30 for a plushie. Immortal level included.

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    Pledge $35 or more About $35

    It's Plushie Time!

    What's cuter than a plush robot, especially one named Pico? Kids love plushies and this is one of the most unique.

    Add $5 for stickers, $20 for Ts, or $30 for additional plushies. Immortal level included.

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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $399 or more About $399

    3-Node PicoCluster

    Receive a 3-node version of the PicoCluster. This is designed to be an inexpensive version of the standard 5-node version, but requires an external network switch to bind the nodes together. You'll also receive the management software and 12 months of access to the PicoCluster education materials

    Add $5 for stickers, $20 for Ts, $30 for plushies, $40 for a custom color case, or $50 for a custom etch. Immortal level included.

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    Pledge $599 or more About $599

    5-Node PicoCluster

    Receive a standard 5-node PicoCluster. This 5-node has an 5 Raspberry PI 2s, power distribution, and an integral network switch. This is everything you need to get started in the wonderful world of PicoCluster! You'll also receive the management software and 12 months of access to the PicoCluster education materials.

    Add $5 for stickers, $20 for Ts, $30 for plushies, $50 for a custom color case, or $50 for a custom etch. Immortal level included.

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    Pledge $799 or more About $799

    5-Node Early Access

    Receive a standard 5-node PicoCluster, but as much as 60 days before any of the other reward levels except VIP. These will be limited edition, hand-assembled, beta units for those of you that can't want to get a hold of one and get started on your own projects. You'll be included in our beta access program for the management software and training materials. You'll be able to help guide the project in it's early stages. You'll also receive 12 months of access to the PicoCluster training software.

    Immortal level included along with a sticker pack, t-shirt and plushie.

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    Pledge $2,475 or more About $2,475

    5 Pack Education Special

    We'll send you 5 of the 5-node PicoClusters along with an 8-port gigabit network switch and associated cables to tie everything together! Save $250 off the individual price. You'll also receive the management software and 12 months of access to the PicoCluster education materials.

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    Pledge $2,995 or more About $2,995

    VIP

    Spend the day with the PicoCluster team and build your own custom 5-node PicoCluster! You'll have the earliest access of anybody and be able to sit down directly with the team and give your feedback and ideas about the project. You'll also receive the management software and 12 months of access to the PicoCluster education materials. Immortal level included along with a sticker pack, t-shirt and plushie. HINT: Arrange to come on a Saturday, and we'll see about taking you out to 5 Mile Pass in the NosqlRevolution Jeep Rubicon for some off road fun :)

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    Pledge $5,490 or more About $5,490

    10 Pack Education Special – We'll send you 10 of the 5-node PicoClusters along with a 16-port gigabit network switch and associated cables to tie everything together! Save $500 off the individual price. You'll also receive the management software and 12 months of access to the PicoCluster education materials.

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Funding period

- (30 days)