Tag Archive for Andreas Olofsson

Linux User & Developer, Issue 147

Linux User & Developer Issue 147This month’s Linux User & Developer magazine includes my review of a device I’ve been wanting to play with ever since I first interviewed its creator, Andreas Olofsson: the Adapteva Parallella.

I was introduced to the Parallella project way back in November 2012, when I interviewed Olofsson ahead of the launch of a Kickstarter campaign to create a low-cost development board for his company’s many-core tile-based Epiphany chip architecture. The promise: a single-board computer boasting a dual-core ARM processor, user-accessible field-programmable gate array (FPGA) and a 16- or 64-core Epiphany co-processor for the bargain-basement sum of $99. The Kickstarter campaign ended its run successfully, and the boards were produced – but there was a long delay between the Kickstarter production run and general availability, and a further delay before the boards became available in the UK.

Thanks to RS Components’ UK arm, availability is a solved issue. While the price of the boards might have increased – the attention-grabbing $99 price having proved unsustainable – the specifications remains the same, with 16-core Epiphany-III boards available now and 64-core Epiphany-IV boards just around the corner. For the Linux user, the magazine’s target audience, they’re tempting indeed: low-power enough to run on battery, a Parallella has the grunt to handle even complex tasks like machine vision but lacks readily-available software written for the Epiphany architecture. With partial OpenCL compatibility, it’s relatively straightforward to get parallelisable code running on the co-processor – and while optimisation is a harder task, the board is nevertheless tempting for anyone familiar with OpenCL and other multi-threading interfaces.

As to whether the Parallella is worth the asking price, you’ll have to buy the magazine to find out – and if you do, you’ll also be treated to my usual four pages of news from the world of open source, open hardware, open governance and open-anything-else-that-catches-my-eye.

Linux User & Developer Issue 147 is available at all god newsagents and most bad ones, supermarkets, or electronically via Zinio and similar services now. As always, the content in this issue will be republished in a French translation as Inside Linux in the coming months.

Linux User & Developer, Issue 120

Linux User & Developer, Issue 120This month’s Linux User & Developer magazine includes the second feature to come out of my interview with Andreas Olofsson, founder of parallel processing startup Adapteva, on the subject of his Parallella Kickstarter project.

The focus of my previous article, published in Issue 111 of Custom PC Magazine, was on Parallella’s implications for the smartphone and tablet world – appropriately enough, given that it appeared in the Mobile Tech Watch column. This time, however, I’m looking at the platform itself and what it could spell for the future of computing education.

One thing Andreas was keen to point out was the openness of his platform: should the Parallella project reach its funding goal – something that, since writing, has been achieved – he promised to make everything relating to the Epiphany architecture that powers the 16- or 64-core co-processor open, from the documentation to the compiler toolchain. That’s something that could really shake up the industry: most embedded computing platforms are encumbered with proprietary drivers, obscure or missing documentation, and the requirement to sign onerous non-disclosure agreements – and usually hand over a wodge of cash – to get enough information to make use of the platform on anything but a very high level.

Parallella could change all that – and speaking to Andreas, one thing you can’t fault him on is his enthusiasm for the subject. Whether that enthusiasm will translate into a shipping and sustainable product, of course, is another matter.

This issue of the magazine also includes a review of Synology’s DS213air dual-drive network attached storage device. Based on a custom Linux distribution dubbed DSM – DiskStation Manager – Synology’s NAS boxes offer far more than the average, with the ability to install everything from an SSH server to Drupal. Does that justify the high retail price, though? Better read the review to find out, hadn’t you?

Finally, the front of the magazine includes a two-page spread of open-source news from the past month. Usually covered by an in-house staff writer, I’ve been handling it for the past two issues due to absence – and it’s been a nice change from my usual work for the magazine. As for what I covered, you’ll have to find a copy of the magazine and take a look if you’re really that curious.

Linux User & Developer Issue 120 is in shops now, with more details available on the official website.

Custom PC, Issue 111

Custom PC Issue 111This month’s Custom PC sees an interesting diversion from the norm in my Mobile Tech Watch column, as I talk to Andreas Olofsson of Adapteva about his company’s Epiphany architecture and the Parallella project.

If you’ve not come across the concept, Parallella is Adapteva’s attempt to push its innovative many-core co-processor design into the mainstream. Raising money through Kickstarter, the company hopes to produce a credit-card sized development board with a dual-core Cortex-A9 chip alongside a 16-core Epiphany-III co-processor. Should things go well, the company additionally aims to release a more powerful $199 model with a 64-core Epiphany-IV chip.

Andreas is a great guy, whom I’ve interviewed before on many-core computing topics. He’s open about the inspiration for the project – the Raspberry Pi, naturally – and what his company hopes to achieve, and appears to have a realistic attitude towards the issues that stand between Adapteva and mass-market success.

Since writing the piece, the Parallella project has proved popular on Kickstarter, standing at $387,873 pledged of a $750,000 goal. With only nine days to go, however, Adapteva may struggle to hit its target – and, thanks to the all-or-nothing nature of Kickstarter funding, if it misses the target it goes home with nothing.

This piece is to be followed with another interview with Andreas in the next Linux User & Developer magazine, looking further into the open source nature of the Parallella project and the impact the Epiphany co-processor could have on the FOSS community – so if this article interested you, pick up a copy of that too for another look at the project.

Custom PC Issue 111 is available in all good newsagents, plenty of bad ones, the better dentists’ waiting rooms and digitally via Zinio.