April 22, 2013

The Raspberry Pi Planet Simulator Cluster

Following a suggestion by "arcticio" on the Arctic Sea Ice Forum we've just constructed a small cluster of Raspberry Pi single board computers and set it to work simulating the climate of Planet Earth. Consider it as the econnexus.org contribution to Earth Day 2013!

The econnexus.org Raspberry Pi Planet Simulator cluster

The econnexus.org Raspberry Pi Planet Simulator cluster

The open source software package we're using is the "Planet Simulator" from the Meteorological Institute of the University of Hamburg. According to arcticio it's:

A [climate] model with a medium complexity and resolution. Simple simulations run really fast. Also it is easy to design experiments, no sea ice, no Himalayas, bigger earth, another orbit, etc.

To get the individual members of our small cluster of Raspberry Pis communicating with each other we referred to the instructions on how to make a "Raspberry Pi Supercomputer" provided by Prof. Simon Cox of the University of Southampton. If you'd like to construct something similar yourself explicit instructions on how to go about it are available as part of our Distributed Arctic Sea Ice Model project. Here's a snapshot of the end result, after the Pi Planet Simulator Cluster was left running overnight:

One simulation of the climate of Planet Earth

One simulation of the climate of Planet Earth

The Planet Simulator also built and ran just fine for us on Scientific Linux and Mac OS X. We'll leave experimenting with it on Windows to another day! In the meantime there a multitude of other uses that the Planet Simulator could be put to.

Does anyone have any bright ideas?

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Comments on The Raspberry Pi Planet Simulator Cluster »

October 16, 2013

Edie @ 2:28 pm

Hi this is a very interesting project. Do you have any results concerning the performances of the cluster ?
Thanks in advance
Best Regards

October 17, 2013

Jim @ 9:20 am

Hi Edie,

Thanks for your kind words. We haven't performed any standard benchmarks I'm afraid. However I can say that whilst our 3 Pi cluster does run the Hamburg Planet Simulator, it does so much more slowly than a 6 core x64 Linux box!

Is your interest in low cost clusters, or planet simulators, or a combination of the two?

June 29, 2015

Joel Wilson @ 10:48 am

This is Y I just bought 3 of them! I want 8 if if any would like to donate to [email protected] on amazon.com, with the kits thank you

July 2, 2015

Jim @ 9:08 am

Hi Joel,

I suspect you'll need to provide more justification than that before people send you any RasPis FoC.

I wouldn't mind a few more myself!

August 21, 2015

Dan @ 9:59 am

You should see it run on a 4 node Jetson cluster. Much quicker than on the Pi's. I have a 4 node cluster of Pi-2's as well. I'm sure if it were reworked to use cuda and some of the cuda enabled math libs it would be even quicker. Good test for a cluster and fairly easy to get running.

August 25, 2015

Jim @ 11:57 am

Hi Dan,

You have actually performed that experiment? Using a non CUDA aware MPI with the Jetsons?

If so do you have some "benchmark" results you can share? How do the Jetson/RasPi clusters compare in terms of bang/buck and/or bang/watt?

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