Los Alamos National Laboratory (lanl.gov) a multidisciplinary research institution engaged in strategic science on behalf of national security, is operated by Los Alamos National Security, LLC, a team composed of Bechtel National, the University of California, BWX Technologies, Inc. and URS Corporation for the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration.
Los Alamos enhances national security by ensuring the safety and reliability of the U.S. nuclear stockpile, developing technologies to reduce threats from weapons of mass destruction, and solving problems related to energy, environment, infrastructure, health and global security concerns.
The BitScope Clusters project came about as a result of super computing development work at Los Alamos. Gary Grider, leader of the High Performance Computing Division at the Laboratory recognised the division faced a difficult problem; how does one develop systems software for new supercomputer designs without a supercomputer on which to develop it? Like any good architect or engineer, his solution was to model new supercomputer designs and develop the systems software on the model and thus the large scale Raspberry Pi Cluster was born.
The New Mexico Consortium (NMC, newmexicoconsortium.org) is an innovative effort to engage universities and industry in scientific research in the nation's interest and to increase the role of Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) in science, education and economic development. This non-profit corporation formed by the three New Mexico universities focuses on facilitating collaborations between LANL, universities, and industry.
The NMC provides agile and accountable operations to execute joint initiatives and manages self-sustaining research facilities. Through the NMC, the universities and LANL have developed more effective collaborations to advance the impact of scientific research locally as well as nationally.
The Ultrascale Systems Research Center (USCR, newmexicoconsortium.org/research/advanced-computing/usrc) is a collaboration between the NMC and LANL to engage universities and industry nationally in support of exascale research. USRC investigates the challenges of computing at extreme scales - millions rather than thousands of computers.
Such large systems pose questions that have not yet been answered.
USRC undertakes research in topics as they relate to exascale computing including OS, systems and network software stacks, scalable and reliable runtimes and middleware, IO, storage and parallel file systems, data intensive (DISC), resilience, fault-tolerance, reliability, and dependability of hardware and software.
BitScope Raspberry Pi Clusters offer a platform to assist researchers working in these fields by providing a flexible "scale model" of the target production clusters for which solutions to these questions are sought.
Based in Albuquerque, SICORP (sicorp.com) is a leading IT systems integrator and IT services provider, with 20 years’ experience serving government scientific research laboratories, civilian agencies and commercial customers. SICORP has particularly strong experience in high performance computing (HPC), high performance parallel file systems and high performance networking. Los Alamos National Laboratory approached SICORP to help find a solution to building a Raspberry Pi Cluster.
BitScope Designs (bitscope.com) makes embedded test, measurement and data acquisition systems and low cost physical computing and cluster solutions designed for education, research and industry. Developed in Australia with local and Chinese manufacture, BitScope products have been sold worldwide since the company was founded in 1998.
SICORP noticed the BitScope Blade range and approached BitScope with a request for "a much bigger cluster". Bruce Tulloch, Norman Jackson and the BitScope team designed and built the clusters now being deployed for Los Alamos National Laboratory in about 3 months using BitScope Blade.
The Raspberry Pi Foundation (raspberrypi.org) is a UK-based charity that works to put the power of digital making into the hands of people all over the world. The Foundation provides low-cost, high-performance computers that people use to learn, solve problems and have fun. The Foundation also provides outreach and education to help more people access computing and digital making. The Foundation develops free resources to help people learn about computing and how to make things with computers, and train educators who can guide other people to learn.
For nearly four years BitScope Designs has worked with the Raspberry Pi Foundation to create embedded and desktop test and measurement solutions for the Raspberry Pi. More recently it created the BitScope Blade product range to power and mount Raspberry Pi in industrial applications so it made sense to use Blade to create the first industrial scale compute clusters using Raspberry Pi as the processing node.
Eben Upton and the Raspberry Pi team were instrumental in helping to bootstrap this project.
element14 (element14.com) is part of the Premier Farnell group of businesses, a global technology leader with over 80 years in the high service distribution of technology products and solutions for electronic system design, production, maintenance and repair. Raspberry Pi, the BitScope Blade power and mounting systems for Raspberry Pi and BitScope's Test and Measurement product range including BitScope Micro is available via Farnell element14 in Europe, Newark element14 in North America and element14 in Asia.