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SDSC Uses Meteor Raspberry Pi Cluster to Teach Parallel Computing

UCSD News (CA) (11/12/13) Jan Sverina

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) researchers have build Meteor, a Linux cluster using 16 Raspberry Pi computers as part of a program to teach children and adults the basics of parallel computing. Meteor is a complement to Comet, a new supercomputer to be deployed in early 2015 thanks to a $12 million U.S. National Science Foundation grant. “The goal of Meteor is to educate kids and adults about parallel computing by providing an easy-to-understand, tangible model of how computers can work together,” says the San Diego Supercomputing Center’s (SDSC) Rick Wagner. The researchers already have started developing a curriculum for high school students as part of SDSC’s education program. The researchers also have worked with UCSD undergraduates on projects supported by Meteor, with students creating games that operate across the cluster. This fall, Wagner started teaching a visualization and computing course using Meteor to help visualize data generated by SDSC’s high-performance computing systems. “This kind of development and learning is what the Raspberry Pi is ideal for: taking a complex problem and allowing someone to solve it in a simple, unconstrained environment, as well as encouraging students to design new hardware that we haven’t yet imagined,” Wagner says.

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