Kirk Cameron illustrates the concept of parallel computing at the World Maker Faire

One of the centerpieces of the recent World Maker Faire in New York City was a giant cylindrical object studded with hundreds of translucent green electronic panels that waved around like leaves in the wind.  The object was SeeMore, an animatronic sculpture designed by sculptor Sam Blanchard and computer scientist Kirk Cameron to illustrate the concept of parallel computing.  Blanchard calls the project a “physical data visualization that demonstrates the changes occurring.”  The name is a reference to supercomputing pioneer Seymour Cray.  SeeMore is itself a parallel computer: each of SeeMore’s 256 translucent green “leaves” is a Raspberry Pi microcontroller attached to the main structure with a 90-degree reticulating motor.  The Raspberry Pis are all networked together to parse up and down a database of New York City public records.  When an individual Raspberry Pi was idle, its “leaf” would be held stationary against the main structure, and it would extend away when it was carrying out computations.  In this way, SeeMore embodies the process of parallel computing.  Blanchard says the goal of the installation was to “get us to stop thinking of computers in a black box.”

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SeeMore Kirk Cameron
Kirk Cameron, Seemore, Sam Blanchard (SOVA), and Ebon Upton (Founder and CEO of Raspberry Pi Foundation).