IBM plans on building Roadrunner, a next-generation supercomputer that will be located at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico. The computer will have a performance level of 1 petaflop, which is the equivalent of 1,000 trillion calculations per second. Roadrunner will use a conventional cluster of 16,000 AMD Opteron processor cores alongside 16,000 Cell B.E. chips, with both chips working together to handle a share of the calculating work.
The Department of Energy contacted IBM in September about the need of a next-generation supercomputer that is able to sustain a speed of at least one petaflop. The computer will cost the Department of Energy $110 million over three years of development. The Opteron and Cell chip combination should make attempts to lower the overall cost of building the supercomputer interesting. According to IBM, the Cell B.E. processors will act as the workhorse, completing the major floating point calculations. The AMD Opterons will act as the system interface processors and as the transactional backbones between the nodes.