A new supercomputer designed for the US military has smashed through the coveted petaflop barrier. Developed by IBM and the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, the $133 million Roadrunner supercomputer was allegedly built with off-the-shelf components, including almost 7,000 dual-core AMD Opteron processors and almost 13,000 Cell processors.

Executives at IBM touted it as the fastest ever, capable of processing more than one thousand trillion calculations per second - that's twice as much as the current record holder, IBM's "Blue Gene" system. The computer will be used to help maintain the nation's nuclear weapons stockpile, and also to help solve global energy problems as well as opening "new windows of knowledge" in basic research.