ePython now ships as standard with every Parallella board

Author: Nick Brown
Posted: 15 Dec 2016 | 13:05

In a previous blog post I talked about ePython, the very lightweight version of Python that I have developed for the Epiphany co-processor. This co-processor is combined with a dual core ARM CPU on the Parallella single board computer, and this week an updated OS image was released for the machine which now includes ePython pre-installed.

ePython is designed for fast parallel code prototyping and HPC education, to enable people to program the Epiphany with little or no prior HPC experience. But it can be a challenging first step to convince users to physically download, build and install the interpreter – especially if they are unfamiliar with Linux or if they have configured their environment differently.

Shipping with the OS image and being pre-installed significantly cuts down the barrier to usage and helps meet the initial target of ePython, where the aim was for a novice to be able to go from zero to hero (ie write a simple parallel “hello world” programme) in less than one minute.

In tandem with ePython development I have published a number of tutorials on the Parallella blog, which introduces users to the process of writing parallel codes for the Epiphany, exposes them to some of the concepts and challenges that the community faces and also demonstrates common algorithms & applications that run on HPC machines. With the basic model Parallella board at less than $100, the technology significantly opens up the possibility of people playing and experimenting with parallelism.

More information about ePython can be found in the PyHPC 2016 paper in the digital ACM and also the Github repository.