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Robert Gordon University Computer Society
This week we took a look a getting up and running with some Raspberry Pi’s. We connected the Pi’s up to some 55inch 1080P NEC MultiSync V552 LCD panels and also to the projection system of the first year lab (N533), transmitting the video output of a Pi to six Epson projectors.
As you will see, we just had a look at some apps, like Scratch and of course had to spend a bit of time playing Minecraft. Perhaps in the coming weeks we can get into a bit of programming and throw some Arduino into the mix as well.
Around this time last year (16th Oct 2012) RGU CompSoc hosted a lecture/workshop given by a final year student who was looking at the Raspberry Pi as part of his Honours Project. Given that we are planning to explore the Raspberry Pi again this year, here are some resources that may be useful.
The MagPi – a monthly magazine has loads of projects and ideas to try out.
Raspberry Pi as a Media Center (pdf)
Raspberry Pi Getting Started Guide (pdf)
Raspberry Pi Education Manual (pdf)
The video below released just a year ago (15th Oct 2012) shows the construction of a parallel computer by making use of 64 Raspberry Pi’s. To-date it has received almost half a million views. Closer to home, you will see that the University of Glasgow has assembled four Lego Racks each with 14 Raspberry Pi’s, giving a total of 56 nodes, the project is known as (raspberrypicloud).
Another interesting video released just a month a go shows the process of how the Raspberry Pi’s are actually made.
The video below (24 Oct 2012) shows how you can make use of a Raspberry Pi as a full desktop machine making use of lots of USB devices.
A nice example of a Beowulf cluster can be seen in the next video, detailing a 32/33 node cluster built as part of a students dissertation work. One can read more about this system from a post at (hackaday.com). One can read a 17 page (pdf) outlining the system, which also include some performance data and images of the cluster.
A couple of students in school (http://wtcs.ca) built a three node Raspberry Pi Supercomputer (13 April 2013). As you can see the video gives a nice overview of the classic parallel computing system – MPI – the Message Passing Interface.
They have also put together a 64 node machine, as can be seen in the video below (15th June 2013) which gives a nice short overview of the networking infrastructure they have used to support the cluster.
Other Articles on Raspberry Pi Clusters
Another nice example of a Raspberry Pi Cluster can be seen at (www.lab7.io).
An example of a Cluster Rack for the Pi created from Lego Mindstorm NXT parts can be seen at (www.huntrods.com).
A 5 node cluster making use of Lego for its Rack infrastructure (blogs.nvidia.com)
A short article on (www.zdnet.com) about the 56 node Glasgow Pi Cluster.
An 8 node Raspberry Pi Mini Cluster (www.ichec.ie) Irish Centre for High-End Computing.
A 10 node cluster developed as part of a final year project (www.softwareontheside.info).
A 95 page project report (pdf) on the setup and testing of an 8 node cluster consisting of 6 Pandaboard ES boards, 2 Raspberry Pi boards, with an intel dual-core machine being used as the head node.
As can be seen in the stats below, since its launch in April 2011, CompSoc’s WordPress site has received 5327 views. October 2013 even though we are less than half way through as been the best so far with almost 800 views. Looks like we should have a good chance of surpassing 1000 by the end of month. Perhaps if we made use to Tag’s in our posts we would have even more views!
This evening was a bit too wet to test out the DJI Quadcopter with a GoPro attached so we tested it out instead just with the GoPro App on an iPad. As you can see the results seem to be quite good and one of the members took a little walking tour around the dining area on level 2 of the Riverside East Building. Upon exiting the actual building the signal was lost as you will see in the video below.
After that we went to the Multimedia Lab N530, were we decided that we would explore the Raspberry Pi for the following week. To assist in this we setup a Google Group with areas for both the Raspberry Pi and Arduino, so members can find some interesting tutorials during the week that we can take a look at during the next meeting, perhaps get an OS or two installed & do a bit of programming. As such it was decided to meet up next week in the Multimedia Lab N530 at 17:30. We also sorted out some membership forms for the year ahead.
We also watched a few videos from the UIST competition, and mentioned that if the weather is any reasonable we may do another trekking adventure at the weekend just around Aberdeen, perhaps Kincorth Hill, Tullos Hill and on towards Nigg Bay.
To see more RGU CompSoc videos check out our YouTube Channel.
RGU CompSoc’s first meeting of the year took place last Monday 6th October 2013. Take a look at the previous post to see more info. At that meeting we flew a DJI Quadcopter around for a while and also looked at our entry for the USIT 2013 Student Innovation Contest. A number of videos were posted of the quadcopters in action along with some images. In addition quite a few photos of the competition entry were posted.
Since the Competition was held on Thursday 10th October, it seems appropriately timed to release some videos of our entry in action. Below you can see a wide angle shot down into the Atrium of Riverside East of people gathering around to take a look at the system, followed by a series of close up shots, showing its operation. One in particular show the spelling out of “RGU”. Should you wish to perhaps see the videos directly on YouTube then take a look at the CompSoc’s channel.
If you wish to know more about the competition and the winners then take a look at the following page (http://www.acm.org/uist/uist2013/contest.php).
Following on from the recent posts “RGU CompSoc Re-enact the Fellowship Setting out from Rivendell” and “RGU CompSoc Portsoy to Cullen Trek Sat 12th Oct 2013” this new post contains some images taken by some of the students on the trip. To begin with we have some panoramic images, followed by some photographs charting the journey from Portsoy to Cullen. The images below are just a flavour of this new photo-set that in total contain 159 images.
Yesterdays post could perhaps be described as a photographic journey of RGU CompSoc’s coastal trek from Portsoy to Cullen. One particular part of the route that immediately caught the attention of @dcdoolan was a scene from the “Fellowship of the Ring” (2001), just a few seconds of screen time after the “Fellowship” sets out from Rivendell. The music comes to a crescendo just as Gandalf reaches a peak with two outcrops of rock on either-side of him. Seeing such a great location on our own “Fellowship” adventure, we just had to play homage to it, as you will see in the short video of our trek (time index 01:32 to 01:58).
None of us were carrying a “Ring of Power” as Frodo was in this particular film, however as has seemingly become tradition @dcdoolan had a few rocks in his bag collected at the start of the journey, to deposit somewhere at the final destination. So we may not have had the “Ring of Power” in our position during the trek, but we were still making a journey like the “Fellowship” carrying something with us to a final destination. You can see the particular scene in question at time index 00:32 in the video below.
You may like to read the script of the “Fellowship of the Ring” so you can see details of the scene (P80) – all that it says is that it’s an exterior shot in rough country, south of Rivendell by day. The scene is located between the “Fellowship” setting off from Rivendell and their encounter with “Crebain from Dunland”. Had we shot the scene from the opposite direction then we could have recreated it even closer to the film, as Gandalf places his left hand on the outcrop of rock. Perhaps this is a good reason to go on this walk again, but instead of doing the route from Portsoy to Cullen, we could do the reverse and produce a more faithful re-enactment.
Shortly after creating this blog post one of those on the trek send on a horizontally flipped picture, so a new video was quickly edited using this idea. With a horizontal flip applied to just the footage in question, resulting in the video below. As you can readily see it matches in far more closely with the original scene from the “Fellowship of the Ring”.
On Saturday 12th October 2013 RGU CompSoc set off on its usual start of year hill walking trip. This time round we set our sites on a route located about 50 miles north of Aberdeen, a costal walk between Portsoy and Cullen.
We started the adventure just outside the Riverside East Building in Garthdee around 09:40 where we picked up most of the group, we then headed to Woolmanhill to pick up a few more, before journeying north to reach the starting point of Portsoy for our costal trek. Just prior to arriving in Portsoy we stopped off at a co-op shop located just next to the Stay Puff Marshmallow Man from Ghostbusters located in Macduff.
After this quick pit stop we went direct to Portsoy to start the trek around 12:00.
We say some really wonderful scenery along the way and visited some castle runes located right on the cliff edge. We finally arrived in Cullen just before 17:00, and stocked up on some ice-cream before heading back to Aberdeen. On our way through Dyce and onto Aberdeen City centre we made a number of stops along the way to let people off in convenient locations. We finally arrive back at campus just a few minutes before 19:00.
All in all it was a really great day, as you can see from the photographs, the sun was shining all day long and the scenery was in a word amazing. Everybody who came along on the trip really enjoyed it. Hopefully we can do a similar trip again soon. The video below may give you some sense as well of the places we saw and the fun we had, you may notice towards the end that a particular shot looks very much alike a shot from the Fellowship of the Ring, located about half way through just after the Fellowship set off from Rivendell and are making their way across a ridge. Gandalf stops for a moment and puts his hands on a rock as he negotiates his way over a step.
If you wish to see some more pictures from the trip the take a look at this photo set which just so happens to have 586 images charting the journey. This other video directly below, prior to seeing a sample of images from the days, shows the set-up process for the group photo.
The route was about 7 miles in length (11.26km) as seen in the route map below.
Today Monday 7th October 2013 we held the first RGU CompSoc meeting of the 2013/14 Academic Year. We spent a good bit of time flying a DJI Phantom Quadcopter about the grounds at the eastern end of the Riverside East Building. We also did a bit of flying around inside the Atrium area of Riverside East as can be seen in the videos below. We initially met up at the dining area on level 2 just in front of Costa Coffee chatted for a while and made the usual introductions, especially as their was quite a few new faces from first year computing present. In all we had about 20 people in attendance, which was a great start to the new year.
Following on from the videos here are some photos both inside and out-with the Riverside East Building. You will see quite a few photos, of a project developed by 4 of our 3rd year Computer Science students who are presently on Work Placement at various companies in and around Aberdeen. As you can see from the pictures they have build a system using the PumpSpark system and Arduino. This will be submitted as an entry to the UIST 2013 Student Innovation Contest taking place on Thursday 10th October. We will post some videos of it in action and tell you more about it after the competition. As for now just enjoy the photos, and hope to see more of you again next Monday at the same time and place: 17:30 level 2, dining area, by Costa Coffee.
RGU CompSoc’s first meeting of the 2013/14 Academic Year will for the first time take place at the Garthdee Campus. The plan is to meetup in the main dining area, level 2 of Riverside East at 17:30 Monday 7th Oct just in front of Costa Coffee. If the weather is reasonable we may do some Quadcopter Flying, may also take a look at some of the Arduino Kit that recently arrived.
May also chat about Hackerdeen, “the first hackerspace in Aberdeen!” that was setup over the summer months & initiated by some RGU CompSoc members. More info can be found on Google Groups, Twitter, Google+, check out http://hackerdeen.org.uk for more info. Has grown to 30 members on Google groups since it was setup about 10 weeks ago.
RGU CompSoc took delivery of a number of Arduino Kits today, the kits being:
Ultimate 37 in 1 Sensor Modules Kit for Arduino (available online)
SainSmart UNO + SainSmart Graphic LCD4884 Shield + SainSmart Prototype Shield (available online)
SainSmart Mega 2560 R3 Practice Starter Kit with Joystick + L293D + Small Motor Starter Kit (available online)
SainSmart Mega2560 R3 ATmega2560-16AU + Servos 5V Starter Kit (available online)
SainSmart 3.2″ TFT LCD Display+Touch Panel+PCB adapter SD Slot for Arduino 2560 (available online)
Book – Arduino + Android Projects for the Evil Genius: Control Arduino with Your Smartphone or Tablet (available online)
Hopefully over the coming academic year we can build some interesting projects with this kit and also explore the Raspberry Pi, getting all this kit communicating via serial links. See this article about connecting Arduino and Raspberry Pi via a serial USB connection.
Our second week of adventures in the world of Minecraft saw things ramp up a notch with everybody becoming far more competitive than the previous week. The video below should give some idea of the celebrations that ensued as the final game of the evening came to a close.
This evenings CompSoc meeting (Tuesday 19th Feb 2013) was spent playing Minecraft, in all we had about twenty in attendance including both staff and students. The gaming session began around five o’clock in the evening in the C27/28 labs and carried on until about 20:00. Today’s event was really just a test run to see how it would perform with a good few people playing & a number of different maps. We plan to run this again next week, same place, same time, but hopefully with lots more players. The video below should give some idea of what took place this evening, enjoy.
Today we took a look at some Enterprise Operating Systems and some Unix commands. Some mentions include HP-UX – focused heavily on security and workload management with reliability provided through multi-system installations and clustering.
Solaris is also quite a popular platform, it being a Unix OS that can be used as a workstation or server, supporting SPARC, IA-32, x86-64 platforms. Has a mixture of open source / closed source. Its also highly scalable with good support for symmetric multiprocessing. Installation is supported via both text and graphical installation options.
Finally we took a look at Red Hat Linux supporting x86, x86-64, Itanium, PowerPC, IBM System z. Mainly focused on the commercial target market from workstations to servers and supercomputers.
Some thoughts the floated around were to build one of our own custom linux distributions.
Some CompSoc Project Ideas
Linux based system
RGUnix custom distro
Pre-installed custom s/w
Optimised for certain users (students?)
Choose what type of installation (minimal?/graphical?)
Android Custom ROM development
Could perhaps get a number of machines running from the USB Memory sticks to work in parallel, connecting them up via some cables and a switch. Something like MPI could even perhaps be included in the build. Made use of the coin flipper from random.org to help decide the exact route we wish to take.
Would need all s/w development IDE’s / text editors etc. typically required by students.
ReactOS also was also mentioned during the discussions.
Also took at look on play.com for USB Memory sticks.
Useful links and Videos
The following are a few links to some useful pdfs giving an overview of various unix commands.
Unix Commands 01 pdf
Unix Commands 02 pdf
Unix Commands 03 pdf
Unix Commands 04 pdf
Unix Commands 05 pdf
Unix Commands 06 pdf
Unix Commands 07 pdf
You may find some of the videos below to be of interest
The Computer Society – RGU CompSoc has held a number of events during the semester so far. The start of the year brought about a new name for the society along with a new logo. The wordpress and twitter feeds were updated to reflect this. In addition a facebook page was setup too to run in conjunction with the previously established flickr and youtube channels.
It’s quite safe to say that the society has been far more active this semester than in many of the past semesters of the past few years. One of the members will be giving a talk next week for example titled “NASA JPL Coding standard for C programming language in mission critical embedded systems”. With a number of other interesting topics still to appear over the coming weeks such as Vim and Unix to Real-Time critical embedded systems.
2nd Oct 2012 – Getting Going Again
9th Oct 2012 – Motion Capture and the Libec Swift Jib 50
13 Oct 2012 – Hillwalking Adventures around Loch Muick
16 Oct 2012 – The Raspberry Pi
23 Oct 2012 – Microsoft Dreamspark & The Apple Special Event – iPad Mini
30 Oct 2012 – Microsoft Kinect for Windows
6 Nov 2012 – Network Attached Storage
13 Nov 2012 – Windows 8
The following are just a few photos giving some sense of the various activities talks and workshops that have taken place over the past few weeks.
Today we took a look at Windows 8 Probably the most noticable change is the lack of a start menu. The new interface is very much designed with the mobile and tablet world in mind.
Has a number of Editions including
Windows 8 Pro
Windows 8 Enterprise
Windows 8 RT
This article discusses some irritations and how to solve them, covering elements from playing DVD disks to Lock Screens.
Windows 8 – Tuesday 13th November 2012
NASA JPL Coding standard for C programming language in mission critical embedded systems
Vim text editor & How to work on remote unix machine
Software engineering in Ada
Real-Time critical embedded systems
Why to choose Ada over C/C++?