The Build Starts This Week...
Dear Friends and Backers:
Since closing our funding round at the end of December we have been fighting major lead time battles. As many of you know distributors these days try to minimize the amount of inventory they carry and the standard lead time for many ICs can be as long as 10-14 weeks. Procuring a small number of parts at high prices is not that difficult, but getting thousands of single source ICs at reasonable prices is a different story. The end of December is a bad time to ramp up procurement from a standing start, but I am happy to report that we we are now through this hurdle and we will be starting major Parallella board builds this week!!
I am also happy to report that we were able to keep the board assembly local even with the aggressive Parallella cost model. This wasn't a key goal of the project, but it does feel satisfying to defeat yet another myth that "there is no way to do low cost manufacturing in the US".
- 1,500 PCB fabs received. Build starting Feb 4th, 15 day turn.
- Build up all 64-core boards starting Feb 4th, 15 day turn.
- Build of remaining Kickstarter units starting March 5th, 15 day turn. Getting the PCB fabs built up at a reasonable price was the gating item. (We paid a steep premium on the first 1,500 fabs to accelerate the build, but can't afford that for the whole lot)
As you know, Adapteva was struggling for much of the later half of 2013 (losing two key team members due to our financial situation), but but we are now making a comeback and starting to grow the team! Last week a very experienced hardware designer (Fred) joined the Adapteva team here in Lexington, increasing the size of the engineering team by 100%! Fred has 25 years of experience in board and FPGA design and will first of all make sure we get the FPGA build repositories and how-to guides into better shape (so that anyone interested in hacking the Parallella project can do so easily). We are also actively hiring in a number of AREAS in case you are interested in joining us.
A THANK YOU to our Partners:
A huge part of the credit for the getting the Parallella project this far goes to the technical partner companies who stayed with us through some very dark times! For those of you who may need hardware or software design services, we do hope you give these guys a chance, they deserve it!! They are first rate on the technical front, fantastic to work with, and 100% transparent and honest.
- Boston Design Solutions: Board layout/design. Many of you have made positive comments about how dense this 12 layer board is. This is thanks to the work of Mike, Mike,and Kevin at Boston Design Solutions.
- Embecosm: GNU tool chain support from the UK. Fervent open hardware supporters and GDB/GCC gurus at the highest level.
- Antmicro: Embedded software support, BSP, Linux. They got the HDMI to finally work back in August and have been supporting our Linux and board bring-up work for the last 6 months. More exciting things coming from these guys soon..
- Brown Deer Technology: The latest OpenCL SDK for the Parallella is rock solid and will serve as a great baseline for parallel programming. They have also shown prototype implementations of MPI and OpenMP, showing the versatility of the Epiphany architecture as well as the COPRTHR SDK.
If you are interested in meeting the Adapteva team, these will be our coordinates this winter/spring.
- Open Compute Project Summit (Jan 27th, San Jose): The Open Compute Project is a great initiative started by Facebook, centered around sharing information about server infrastructure design and collaborating openly. Last week I traveled to the conference to support our friends at Rex Computing and somehow found myself participating in a the 24 hour Open Compute hardware hackathon with the Parallella. Hopefully this will provide some more evidence that the Parallella board exists as a product and actually works pretty well. Needless to say, this was the most fun I have had in a long time! Check out this video at 11:08 in to see what happened. (That's Frank Frankovsky, the president of the Open Compute project closing the conference..)
- Embedded World (Feb25-27, Nurnberg/Germany): We will be showing off Parallella boards at the conference and may even have a surprise for you by then.:-) We are working on organizing a Parallella party at the conference and it goes without saying that anyone who was a Kickstarter backers will be invited.:-)
- EclipseCon (March 19, San Francisco): We will be presenting an Eclipse parallel debugging environment together with Ericsson. As you know, debugging a parallel program is at least twice as hard as writing one, so hopefully this work will be useful for many of you once you get your boards and start using the Parallella.
- EELive (April 2, San Jose): We will share everything we learned during the Parallella project.
- International Supercomputing Conference (June 23-26, Leipzig/Germany): We will have a booth right next to Samsung and Nvidia at the entrance. Should be a fun contrast.:-)
- Early User Feedback: We have only received feedback from a very small number of the people who received their boards so far. Any feedback is good feedback, so please don't be shy!! Go to forums.parallella.org to share.
- Linux Kernel Feedback: We have made a significant upgrade to the Linux kernel (now 3.12) and the results are very encouraging. The official fork can now be found HERE. For those of you that are Linux kernel experts, please do let us know if you have any feedback and submit pull requests!
- Parallella Examples: @9600 has started an examples repository on github HERE. Given how easy it is to collaborate on github, we hope some of you who have started Parallella code projects already will consider submitting pull requests to make it easy for other backers to learn from your examples.
- Backer Number Swap: If some of your are really anxious to get started programming using the Parallella, please put in a request in the comment section below describing your project and how it will help the rest of the community. We can't let you cut in line, but perhaps one of the backers with low numbers would be nice enough to trade spots.(we'll take care of the arrangements.
The next update will describe the results of the first massive build and will show pictures of large stacks of Parallella boards about to be shipped.