Pieyenne - Overview

Build NCAR's Supercomputer with Raspberry Pis!

With more and more digital data being collected every day. Although home computers are getting faster and are able to process more data than ever, there still exist large complex scientific problems that are too complex and produce too much data for any top-of-the-line computer anyone can purchase (as of 2019).

To tackle these difficult problems, supercomputers and clusters are used to. These machines are not necessarily a one-off expensive machine, but they are essentially high end desktop computers that are all networked together to allow for each individual computer to work on a portion of the problem in tandem.

The scale computers can scale and are only constrained by budgets. Supercomputers can cost tens of millions of dollars and consist of thousands of individual computers. 

The goal of this project is to build a computing cluster with Raspberry Pis. HAving the cluster will allow for some applications to run whereas it will not be able to run on a single Raspberry Pi. To complete the project, users will need to download and upload file, create a local area network with a router, and run install scripts. 

Who is this for:
This project is recommended for grades 9-12 (high school). The project will require typing skills, downloading and running scripts. 


  1. Raspberry Pi 4 (minimum of 2) - There are three versions of the raspberry pi 4 that are available. Computing power and price increases with each version of the Raspberry Pi4 but the lowest level will suffice for this project. 
  2. Power Supply - This is a special USB-C power adaptor that will power your Raspberry Pi
  3. Micro SD CARD for each Pi - The amount of storage varies widely for SD cards. A minimum of 32GB will suffice for this project. 
  4. HDMI Cable  
  5. Network Switch (not a router  and enough ports for each pi) - It is not recommended to use a router in place of a switch. The price of the switch increases with speed and performance. For this project, a basic switch is recommended to save costs (10/100)
  6. Ethernet cables for each Pi
  7. USB Mouse/Keyboard
  8. Monitor
  9. Personal computer/laptop
  10. Power strip