Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Parallella rev-0

So I got my first parallella board yesterday. I don't have much to report other than that I plugged it in and it worked. The circuit board is literally credit-card sized and really packed with components - very impressive. With 1G ram and the dual-core arm the base cpu seems quite nippy too - I haven't run any benchmarks vs the beagleboard-xm, but it certainly feels significantly faster from the very limited amount of use so far (e.g. emacs seems usable even via remote X). Ubuntu/debian is a big turn-off though.

Unfortunately the early-adopter rev-0 boards are a bit sub-optimal and don't have working USB (by far the biggest amongst a few faults; hdmi doesn't work yet apparently but that's only a firmware issue and I don't have the correct cable yet in any event). And as I found with the beagleboard - without USB these things are severely limited, so i'm pretty bummed about that (I expect a future i/o expansion board will at least remedy this). I kind of made a mistake in that I really wanted 2x64 core boards but was worried about having import duty hassles. And because I was on leave and staying away from my laptop i missed the email offer to switch for these early boards until too late. Update: I should've checked the message board first, it seems USB should work at some point.

Anyway as one might notice from the lack of posts lately i've kind of gone off pretty much everything technology related. It's partly the weather, but also a change of perspective due to age, health, and so on. I had a few weeks off over that time and didn't touch any code at all, and didn't even feel like thinking about it much either. I did notice the new OpenCL spec which has some interesting features, but i've mostly just been reading online news/forums (but not participating) and playing some PS3 games - and whilst the hysteria and ignorance in the fora has had it's entertainment value, the sameyness is wearing thin.

So right now i'm not really too enthused just yet about poking the epiphany chip (let alone the fpga) or trying to provide feedback on the sdk/etc. Pity it didn't come on-time, when I was more into that shit (as i generally am over summer).

Back at work it looks like i'm on some pretty dull stuff for the next little bit too, which is pretty sapping.


Update: responding to the comment below I thought i'd update the post ...

At this point I don't have anything specific I want to do with the board but as I think about it there are a few possibilities of things I might be interested in poking at ...

  • Simple low-level signal processing algorithms such as convolution, wavelets, fft?. How does it perform compared to NEON? How easy is it to extract that performance?
  • Machine vision/learning.
  • Interfacing to Java. Obviouusly JNI but it would also be nice for something deeper/easier to use like Aparapi. Or running lambda expressions. But most of that is probably too big/too out of my area of expertise.
  • Learn about FPGA programming. Last time I was exposed to it was the early 90s.
  • FPGA + DSP stuff, e.g. 3d, or sound stuff. Probably unlikely to get very far with that again due to complexity.
  • Task scheduling/processing; ways to use/share the epiphany resources efficiently. e.g. 'shaders'.
  • Assembly language.
  • OpenCL?

Whatever I do will probably limited to small learning experiments rather than long-term applications (that's what work is for). I need to set aside the time and find the enthusiasm to get started too. Time isn't the something i'm short of!

At least the more I think and write about it the more the desire builds to get stuck into it ...


dimok135 said...

Wow. What are you going to do with this board? I think it can be useful for rendering of 3d graphics.

utobion said...

I am waiting for my board -october ? - . I would like intrface a camera, process image/videos and share then on cloud - dropbox ?-

A similar project realized with a Raspberry Pi in not efficent, Ihope parallella borad will be more powerfull.