Now that the performance of individual cores has plateaued, future supercomputers will depend upon increasing parallelism for performance. Processor counts are now in the hundreds of thousands for the largest machines and will soon be in the millions. There is an urgent need to model application performance at these scales and to understand what changes need to be made to ensure continued scalability. This paper considers algebraic multigrid (AMG), a popular and highly efficient iterative solver for large sparse linear systems that is used in many applications. We discuss the challenges for AMG on current parallel computers and future exascale architectures, and we present a performance model for an AMG solve cycle as well as performance measurements on several massively-parallel platforms. © 2011 ACM.