For years, the development of CPU and custom add-on's was the virtue of huge, well-financed institutions. Intel for example, spent $2.4b in 2011 on R&D. However, with the advent of fabless chip manufactures, and better design tools, the age of the crowd-funded processor is upon us.
A new KickStater project, Parallella aims to bring the power of multi-processor, parallel programming to a wider audience.
Based on the RasberryPI concept of a low-cost, but useful board, Adapteva (the company behind the board) is offering a dual ARM A9 based board, with the addition of the Epiphany co-processor. There will be two versions offered, a 16-core version based on 65nm process, and, if sufficient funding is raised, a 64-core version based on the 28nm process. The stand-out point here is the price. $99 for the 16-core and $199 for the 64-core.
They have already shown off some of the capabilities of the board in the KickStarter page, and will be demoing and reveling more information this week.
We're really excited about this offering. The more people that have access to parallel development environments, the more the discipline will benefit for everyone. Indeed, we're so excited about this, we've decided to back the project!
We'd encourage anyone with the means and interest to get involved, and help push this project to a successful conclusion. We'd also love to hear how you all would use the board, so please do get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org