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Thread: BASIC Stamp Supercomputer

  1. #1

    Thumbs up BASIC Stamp Supercomputer

    The BASIC Stamp "Supercomputer"

    Resources

    Download software (22 programs)
    Self Adjusting Master Code (New!)
    Read the article in Penguin Tech 4
    View the Schematic (page 6)
    Watch the movie

    (demonstration of basic principles to take some characteristics of a supercomputer, in particular the notion of larger multiples of relatively simple processors communicating over a common bus, each doing a portion of a task in parallel)


    Penguin Tech Magazine Supercomputer Article

    My Supercomputer! I got the idea to make a supercomputer at the hobby level to demonstrate the concept. It beats out the worlds fastest supercomputer in ten categories!

    * Smaller
    * Lighter
    * Portable
    * Field Operable
    * Runs on Batteries
    * Has the Greatest Number of (I/O)
    * Has the greatest Number of Sensors/Variety
    * Lowest Power Consumption
    * Lowest Unit Cost
    * Easiest to Program


    It's a simple hobby project using 11 Parallax Basic Stamp microcontrollers (12 by the time you read this). These "computers" are connected together for hardware/software clustered parallel processing. It's a fantastic learning tool and can control 176 peripherals/sensors. One application is for the more rapid development of robotic sensors and software.

    it.youtube.com/watch?v=huukEEwy-3E
    Some tips on watching the youtube vid. Select "Watch in high quality." Turn off sound, let the vid load in first by leaving for a break. When you come back, it will be loaded, turn up the sound, and watch it. It will run smoothly.

    This is the World's First talking Basic Stamp Hobby Supercomputer!!! (and the World's 1st Supercomputer built from hobby microcontrollers) It communicates by English and Chinese voice (EMIC TTS board), lights (21 LEDs), vision, sound (12 speakers), motion (PIR), ports (176), infrared, Vibra Tab Mass detector, accelerometer, temperature chip, ultrasonics [PING)))], LCD Liquid Crystal Display, and a tiny uOLED color monitor. Attachments include a keyboard, 3D space mouse, and other goodies under development.


    Final Rack Wiring Phase and Grounding Field Experiment

    There's 22 switches, 11 are toggle and 11 are pushbutton. Fully loaded, it's only a few pounds weight, so it's very portable. The only concern is one wire popping off, as the breadboards, as handy as they are for rapid proto, are less than permanent. I prefer to keep it this way as the entire supercomputer can be disassembled for moving and for international travel.

    It uses a one wire interface and has unlimited computer expansion. Additional stamps connect to the interface by routing only P0, Vdd, and Vss. It can be operated on batteries or a power supply. The basic boards only draw 18 to 30ma each. Even with attachments, such as the EMIC text to speech board (peaks at 157ma while talking) and the uOLED color monitor (peaks at 52ma), the current draw of all boards average around 340 ma. Computer 9 starts talking and the hive peaks at 360 ma.


    All boards and sensors are shown working, drawing 311 ma at 9-volts DC. Eleven
    programs are running in parallel, controlling multiple sensors at the same time.


    It runs well on batteries. I have used 11 zinc carbon batteries which cost about 29 cents each. It may be advisable to use alkaline batteries for the uOLED and EMIC as these draw more current. The uOLED can be programmed to consume less current, based on the colors it displays.

    Individual Basic Stamps are able to switch on and off, for various special configurations. For example, a quick test of a sensor on one computer is possible just by toggling a switch and running software. Board combinations can also be run, for example, in combining sensors from computers #2, 5, 6, 8, 10 and 11.

    Software sets up a Master Computer MC that's in charge of the remaining workers. The Master, or Boss, decides how to handle business, when to talk, who should talk, how to talk, and what to talk. In summary, it queries the Workers to gain data and information, which can be computational related or sensor related. With the 11-Stamp configuration, there are 10 worker programs and 1 Master program running in parallel. The hardware parallel computer cluster runs in parallel also. This can achieve some incredible power, especially when considering the availability of 176 ports, many of which can contain sensors and circuits.


    Earlier wiring stage, showing use of clips to hold
    boards and wiring


    The youtube video shows all 11 computers communicating. You will see the Master send out individual "wake-up" calls to the computers it wishes to speak to. For example, to wake up computer 8, it sends out "c8." Computer 8 will respond by saying, "I'm computer eight." It lets the Master know when it has finished data transfer by sending its signature, a c8. All computers can simultaneously perform calculations and take sensor readings, however, they must report their data to the Master one at a time.

    A nice feature is the LCD that monitors traffic on the supernet. The LED Traffic Monitor is connected to the supernet without any computer requirement. It runs by itself, although its formatting is best controlled by Stamp PBASIC. It's quite fascinating to sit back and watch these computers talk back and forth to each other.

    Supercomputer Self Diagnostics SSD are also built into the software. At startup, the LED array bus bar lights a single LED data light for each of the working computers, and a piezo speaker provides check data from an alternate pin. This routine works well for immediately knowing which computer is available and ready. Troubleshooting, for debugging software purposes, is a gold mine. There's access up to 21 LED data lights, LCD text and numerical output, Piezo sound pin data, and uOLED monitor output for text streaming and numerical data logging output information.


    Three bus lines - Data LEDs, Toggle
    Switches, and Power Control are made
    from clothes hangers machined with a
    hobby tool.


    There are 10 workers and one master. The master handles the parallel network traffic and polls workers for information. I originally planned 10 BS2 computers. Curiosity got the best of me when I wondered if other stamps could easily interface. The answer found was yes, when the 11th computer, a BS2px on a BOE, was connected. Most of the remaining computers are Basic Stamp HomeWork boards. I now have computer number 12, a BS2sx that I'm working with.

    Why Build a Supercomputer? Here's some reasons:

    • Learning experiences & challenges
    • Expanding education & knowledge
    • Gaining useful background for career
    • Research Benefits
    • Extending Basic Stamp power
    • Creating new inventions, ideas, applications
    • Own your own, prestige
    • School project, credit
    • Involvement, sense of great accomplishment
    • Psychological relaxation, Symbolic Value
    • Sharing, making new friends

    A lengthy writeup appears, with plans, more photos, schematics, build instructions, and software, in Penguin Tech Magazine, posted here in the Parallax Forum, in the Robotics section, plus in other sources - see links below. Check PT in the Parallax Robotics Forum. (note: please allow some time for me to proofread, and post the information, thanks.)

    http://forums.parallax.com/forums/default.aspx?f=10
    http://it.youtube.com/watch?v=huukEEwy-3E
    http://www.robotinfo.net/penguin/supercomp.html

    Check back frequently to this posting as I will update and add information.

    Many thanks to the amazing Parallax Company, where you can find Basic Stamp computers, Penguin robots, and parts/sensors, and thanks to all the wonderful friends on the Parallax Forum, many are at guru genius level, all offer guiding help and positive suggestions. To you, I say thanks, just to let you know I could not have done this project without your great and wonderful inspirations and mind melding derivatives.

    Humanoido
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    Last edited by Humanoido; 12-25-2010 at 04:27 PM. Reason: Forum Migration

  2. #2

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    humanoido -

    Your project is absolutely outstanding. I'm nearly breathless as I look at all the levels, and the complex function, yet apparently simple wiring. I wonder if Guiness Book of World Records has a category for micro-SuperComputers yet? If not, you deserve the FIRST listing!

    Seymour Cray has NOTHING on YOU!

    Best of luck with all your future endeavors.

    Regards,

    Bruce Bates

    ▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔
    When all else fails, try inserting a new battery.
    Last edited by ForumTools; 09-30-2010 at 01:09 AM. Reason: Forum Migration

  3. #3

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    WOW !!!!!!!

    It's a good thing I have to go out this morning. Otherwise I would be checking every 5 minutes to see if PT04 was in my mailbox.

    Ron
    Last edited by ForumTools; 09-30-2010 at 01:09 AM. Reason: Forum Migration

  4. #4

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    ...O...M...G!!!

    (jaw dropping to floor)

    DJ
    Last edited by ForumTools; 09-30-2010 at 01:09 AM. Reason: Forum Migration

  5. #5

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    Humanoido_ Thats real cool ! I'm looking forward for Penguin Tech #4.

    ▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔





    ·Right_Uderstanding, Attitude, Speech, Action, Livelihood, Effort, Concentration, and Awareness
    Last edited by ForumTools; 09-30-2010 at 01:09 AM. Reason: Forum Migration

  6. #6

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    OMG!

    (another jaw slams the floor)

    Wow.. Double Wow.. Incredible!
    You have inspired me to add a Propeller-based supercomputer to my own TODO list..

    What a work of art...

    OBC

    ▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔
    New to the Propeller?

    Getting started with a Propeller Protoboard?
    Check out: Introduction to the Proboard & Propeller Cookbook 1.4
    Updates to the Cookbook are now posted to: Propeller.warrantyvoid.us
    Got an SD card connected? - PropDOS
    Last edited by ForumTools; 09-30-2010 at 01:09 AM. Reason: Forum Migration

  7. #7

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    Hey OBC,

    The Propeller based version popped into my mind also. The cpu count goes up faster with propellers, but the Basic Stamp has the edge for i/o ports. Or that's the way it looks to me.

    Do we have a date for Propeller Expo 2009 yet? I would like to get that on my calendar before I wind up scheduling something else over the same weekend.

    Ron
    Last edited by ForumTools; 09-30-2010 at 01:09 AM. Reason: Forum Migration

  8. #8

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    Way to go humanoido.. Congratulations!!!
    Last edited by ForumTools; 09-30-2010 at 01:09 AM. Reason: Forum Migration

  9. #9

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    Congratulations – Fine looking machine!
    I’m assuming FLOPS are in the yotta range?
    Last edited by ForumTools; 09-30-2010 at 01:09 AM. Reason: Forum Migration

  10. #10

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    Would this thing be capable of Genetic Programming and such? Very interesting!
    Last edited by ForumTools; 09-30-2010 at 01:09 AM. Reason: Forum Migration

  11. #11

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    Excellent humanoido! Will there be a Stamp shortage if we continue to build these SuperStamputers?
    Last edited by ForumTools; 09-30-2010 at 01:09 AM. Reason: Forum Migration

  12. #12

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    humanoido said...
    ... It beats out the worlds fastest supercomputer in five categories!...
    What are the five categories?
    Last edited by ForumTools; 09-30-2010 at 01:09 AM. Reason: Forum Migration

  13. #13

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    First post said...
    It beats out the worlds fastest supercomputer in ten categories!

    * Smaller
    * Lighter
    * Portable
    * Field Operable
    * Runs on Batteries
    * Has the Greatest Number of (I/O)
    * Has the greatest Number of Sensors/Variety
    * Lowest Power Consumption
    * Lowest Unit Cost
    * Easiest to Program
    Now we know the real truth about where terminators started. <SMIRK>

    OBC

    ▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔
    New to the Propeller?

    Getting started with a Propeller Protoboard?
    Check out: Introduction to the Proboard & Propeller Cookbook 1.4
    Updates to the Cookbook are now posted to: Propeller.warrantyvoid.us
    Got an SD card connected? - PropDOS
    Last edited by ForumTools; 09-30-2010 at 01:09 AM. Reason: Forum Migration

  14. #14

    Default

    Thanks sincerely for the continuous amazing comments.
    I did a post edit above in red to highlight where the
    BSS beats out the worlds fastest supercomputer in
    five categories. As I was verifying the research, it was
    realized there are ten categories, so this was updated.

    One of the new categories is the simplistic nature of
    programming it in PBASIC. I realized this when adding
    comments to the 13 programs that will be posted very
    soon.

    Basically you have access to all 11 computers and
    their sensors/peripherals, the data lights and piezo
    sound with Auto Diag. The latter is a simple but very
    effective diagnostic routine during initialization and
    operations.

    Auto Diag now includes the data lights on computer
    pins 1, and the piezo speakers on pins 15, as well
    as the LCD on pin 0. When I looked back at the code,
    I saw it could be made more simple by combining
    two routines into one subroutine (initialization +
    operating Auto Diag).

    I wrote the software to be as absolutely simple as
    possible, so anyone can understand it, and expand it
    for their own supercomputing projects.

    You may be wondering about the two extra programs.
    These are examples of computer code driving the
    peripherals on computers 9 and 10, located on rack
    level upper 5.

    Standard code is provided for computers 9 and 10,
    which may not be running peripherals (EMIC text
    to speech, and a uOLED display).

    The rack has 6 levels, each of which is divided into
    upper and lower. Thus, each rack can support 21
    computers. The reason it's not 22 is because a clip-
    on-light occupies the number 22 position.

    humanoido
    Last edited by ForumTools; 09-30-2010 at 01:09 AM. Reason: Forum Migration

  15. #15

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    Mike,

    I am also amazed at what you've done! I've been so quiet because I don't quite know what to say about this project other than I'm really thankful that Parallax is part of it and I'm impressed with the results! And all from Taiwan. I don't even know how I'd go about scrounging up the right hardware in Taiwan to build the projects you're producing lately, let alone come up with a supercomputer.

    Sincerely,

    Ken Gracey
    Last edited by ForumTools; 09-30-2010 at 01:09 AM. Reason: Forum Migration

  16. #16

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    I felt like cheering with the rest of them at the end of the youtube video...

    I may have to see my doctor: I've been grinning ear to ear while reading this post, and I think it may have become permanent. Thank you humanoido!
    Last edited by ForumTools; 09-30-2010 at 01:09 AM. Reason: Forum Migration

  17. #17

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    Slightly off topic, what is the music playing at 4:00 in the video?

    OBC

    ▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔
    New to the Propeller?

    Getting started with a Propeller Protoboard?
    Check out: Introduction to the Proboard & Propeller Cookbook 1.4
    Updates to the Cookbook are now posted to: Propeller.warrantyvoid.us
    Got an SD card connected? - PropDOS
    Last edited by ForumTools; 09-30-2010 at 01:09 AM. Reason: Forum Migration

  18. #18

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    OBC:
    At 4:00 on the sound track is the transitional piece
    that leads into Step-Up by the pop group Cheetah Girls.

    "The pop music group The Cheetah Girls originated as
    a series of books about an ethnically diverse group of
    friends written by Deborah Gregory. In 2003, Disney
    released the original Cheetah Girls movie featuring Kiely
    Williams, Adrienne Bailon, Sabrina Bryan and Raven-
    Symoné as a group of friends who formed a singing group."

    source: www.mahalo.com/The_Cheetah_Girls

    humanoido
    Last edited by ForumTools; 09-30-2010 at 01:09 AM. Reason: Forum Migration

  19. #19

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    Thanks sincerely for the positive posts. Don't stop. :)
    There was a comment about scrounging parts in Asia.
    I frequent the parts stores for surplus electronics where
    the two most important things were purchased - oscilloscope,
    about 7 Mhz, and a bench power supply which goes up to
    about 30 volts DC. The oscilloscope is a used ST-16, while the
    DC power supply was a new LWDQGS PS-302DM.


    Half size clipboards from the dollar store became the solution
    for an inexpensive rack. Home Depot provided the hardware.


    For the Supercomputer parts, the dollar store also came in handy.
    The computer rack was a big consideration and took several weeks
    to design and build. It consists of half sized dollar clip boards. The
    spring and clip was removed and 4 holes drilled for threaded rods.
    The rods came from an American store over here in Asia - Home
    Depot. I found rods, washers, nuts, saws, blades, and a hobby tool for
    machining the metal and plastic. I remember thinking "thank God for
    Home Depot!"


    Bus bars were made from plastic hangers obtained from
    a top level floor in the Ikea Skyscraper.


    The board holders are metal clips from the office supply store. The
    plastic clips sold in dollar stores and department stores hold wire
    bundles and some boards that are more deeply placed on the rack.
    Wire bundles and specially made cut-to-size wire for point to
    point wiring on solderless breadboards came from surplus stores.
    Mainly, all of the Parallax parts that I've accumulated since the year
    2000 were used for this project. I'm an avid and enthusiastic
    follower of the Basic Stamp for many years, and even built a humanoid
    robot which used multiple Basic Stamps connected together to control
    the body parts. So I've worked on various supercomputer ideas for
    about a decade.


    A hobby tool, seen at lower right, was used for machining metal and plastic.
    Amazing - there are no wires attached...


    Bus bars were created from clothes hangers found in Taiwan's Ikea.
    These hold the toggle switches, lights, and power connectors. There's
    a florescent light at the top of the rack purchased from a grocery store.
    Piezo speakers came from a skyscraper with hundreds of electronic
    stores. I remember the woman store clerk asked me what voltage I
    wanted, in Chinese language! They make these in all physical sizes. It
    was amazing to see that, even giant piezo speakers, like some tiny ones
    on steroids... and some tiny ones you'd need a nice magnifying glass to
    view well. LEDs were ordered in bulk as close-out grab bags from the USA.


    These batteries cost as low as 29 cents and are fake copies.
    They worked well considering the cost and ran each board without
    sensors for about a day.


    There was some thought about which voice to use. It was a choice of
    either the SPO256 or Emic. Both sat in my parts box for several years.
    I had the male voice SPO256 from 1984, which was later interfaced to a
    Basic Stamp 2.


    Starting out, the Supercomputer was run on 9-volt batteries.

    Emic was chosen because the board draws considerably less power and
    that would be an advantage for the supercomputer's portability operation
    and battery longevity factor.

    Post Edited (humanoido) : 11/22/2008 3:30:09 PM GMT
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    Last edited by ForumTools; 09-30-2010 at 01:09 AM. Reason: Forum Migration

  20. #20

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    I'm not sure that aviation officials will let your board a plane with it, for all the proclaimed portability. :)

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    Last edited by ForumTools; 09-30-2010 at 01:09 AM. Reason: Forum Migration

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