Opterons and Cell Help Roadrunner Supercomputer Break Petaflop Barrier

A $133 million Supercomputer built specifically to crunch military data has been unveiled by IBM and Los Alamos National Laboratory boffins

The son of Blue Gene and great-great grandson of Ascii Red is the first computer to break the Petaflop barrier - peaking at 1.026 PF - in a quest that should give scientists a better tool to measure everything from nuclear explosions to climate change models.

The supercomputer, dubbed Roadrunner, packs in nearly 13,000 IBM Cell Processors which are used by millions of Playstation 3 gamers as well as 7000 Opteron Processors made by AMD and will be twice as fast as Blue Gene, which held the title of world fastest computer till now.

Interestingly, Roadrunner uses only a fraction of the 213,000 processors used by Blue Gene although each of these processors house up to eight cores running at 4GHz and will require up to 3 megawatts of power to function.

IBM has already announced that it is working on another Petaflop computer called Blue Gene/P.