Teraflops: a unit of measurement for computer processing power equal to 1,000,000,000,000 FLOPS.

FLOP is a way of measuring computer performance based on how many floating- point operations can be performed in a second (Floating- point Operations Per Second).

Floating points are the way computers represent real numbers in their calculations. Generally, small integers and real numbers are easy for computers to process, but when the numbers get too large or too small, or when they include decimal points, additional coding is needed for the computer to process them.

Holding with binary coding, the numbers are all represented as powers of two, instead of ten. While not as accurate as fixed- point operations, they can support the very small and very large numbers.

Generally, for average computers, the Instructions per second (IPS) test is sufficient to test the computers capabilities.

However, for more powerful computers that rely much heavier on use of arithmetic, a test involving flops was devised.

Thus FLOPS became the standard test for supercomputers. Traditionally computers were only able to reach into the gigaflop range, but newer processors are coming out that can hit above 1000 gigaflops, thus putting them in the teraflop range seeing as teraflops are equal to 1000 gigaflops.

Just as with petaflops, the measurement of FLOPS is not enough to truly encompass the performance ability of a computer.

There are many other factors to take into account, including clock speeds (which, for the first time, are reaching into the gigahertz range where once they were only in the megahertz).

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