Now that IBM's RoadRunner supercomputer has broken the petaflop barrier, reaching more than one thousand trillion sustained floating-point operations per second, supercomputer developers say the next step is an exascale system capable of a million trillion calculations per second, a thousand times faster than a petaflop. At the upcoming International Supercomputing Conference in Dresden, Germany, University of Tennessee professor Jack Dongarra will give a presentation on exaflop systems in the year 2019. Dongarra says performance gains are following a predictable path, with the first gigaflop system being built 22 years ago. Dongarra says there will be exaflop computing in 11 years, and that by then every system on the Top500 computing list will be at least a petaflop. He says the greatest achievement with the RoadRunner system is the programming that allows the system to utilize different processor technologies. To achieve exascale systems, Dongarra says developers will have to create new programming languages and algorithms that can calculate at high degrees of concurrency to complete calculations quickly. The difficulty in reaching that level of programming, and changing to new methods, could be the roadblock that prevents exaflop computing from being realized in a similar timeline, he says.