Dear Friends and Backers:
Not sure where to start… The last couple of months have been a disaster and I am disappointed to report that we are still weeks away from being able to ship the final Parallella products. What went wrong? Well, pretty much everything…
- Finances: The Parallella project has stretched our team and finances to the limit over the past year and many of the most difficult challenges we have faced have been due to a lack of resources. Fortunately I can now state with more confidence than ever that both Adapteva and the Parallella project are going to be ok!!!
- Team: A key member of our three person engineering team left the company in August, causing parts of the Parallella project to grind to a halt. Unfortunately, because of our tight funding situation over the last year we have never had the luxury of building up knowledge redundancy anywhere in the project. The critical employee knowledge transfer is now complete and thanks to the addition of Antmicro to the project, Parallella is back on track and stronger than ever!
- Logistics: Despite our strong objections, a key single source part on the Parallella board was abruptly end-of-life’ed by the vendor in August. We don’t want to name the vendor here, but the BOM and schematics are open source so I am sure you can figure it out. (a lack of availability of that part was the reason the Gen0 board only shipped in July) We should have enough parts available to ship all Kickstarter rewards and pre-order purchases, but we will need to stop taking more pre-orders until we can redesign the board to accommodate a replacement part.
Parallella Board Updates:
- Epiphany Chips: One of the biggest risk items for the Parallella project was getting the Epiphany III chip into production status. This meant we had to completely redesign our chip package and do a full mask tapeout for the Parallella project. I am happy to report that 8,700+ chips came back in September and so far the raw yield is over 75%! Our goal is to get the Epiphany product into general distribution channels so that Parallella can qualify as a true open source hardware platform. READ MORE
- Shipping: The logistics of shipping 6,300 boards to backers is a huge challenge but thanks to our new team members, Graham and Diana, the fulfillment infrastructure is now in a great shape and we are ready to start shipping (as soon as the final boards arrive).
- Board Bringup: Last week I traveled to our new friends at Antmicro in Poznan, Poland to finish the bringup of the Parallella Gen1 boards. Peter, Karol, and Michael, and the rest of the team at Antmicro are true “embedded rockstars”! and we made quick work of getting all the final features tested out in a couple of days. The following rough video (sorry for the quality!) shows that the major power issue that we had on Gen0 has been solved!
Other Parallella Updates:(to show that the best is yet to come)
- Parallella Demo: During the summer we put together a demo with our summer interns showing how easy it can be to make use of the Epiphany coprocessor. It took our interns two weeks to put together the demo software and have it running on the Parallella Gen0 boards! READ MORE
- Secret Features: Thanks to relentless testing from our interns, we were also able to finally disclose some nifty parallel Parallella programming features that had been hiding inside the Epiphany chips for years. Features like these will become very important as we scale up to 1024 cores in coming years. READ MORE
- Backer Survey: There is no doubt that we have the best supporters, partners, and customers in the industry bar none! We recently sent out a marketing survey to find out what everyone wanted to do with the Parallella boards and Epiphany chips. Close to 50% of you responded, which is a mind boggling number! Knowing that there is so much enthusiasm out there drives us forward and keeps us committed to shipping these products regardless of cost. READ MORE
- New Logo: A much overdue new project logo that we think fits the Parallella project perfectly! READ MORE
- University Program: The interest from Universities keeps building. We now have over 120 universities that have bought kits and/or signed up for the Parallella University Program. READ MORE
1.) This week we will be sending out the “final” design files to manufacturing and build 200 Parallella Gen1.1 boards. These final board design files will incorporate the HDMI routing fix and a couple of minor issues found during the recent bring-up work.
2.) Ship the first 200 Parallella product boards by November 15th.
3.) Ramp up to 6,300 units as quickly as we possible!
I am truly sorry that this project has not come together as planned, but I hope the data presented here will convince you that we are doing everything we possibly can to fulfill our commitments and to start shipping as soon as possible.