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What are Flops?

Date: 02/25/2001 at 09:15:15
From: John McCormick
Subject: What Is A Flop?

Hello Dr. Math,

I really need to know what a flop is, and what a teraflop is. My 
teacher told me to go to this site, but I can't find it anywhere. Can 
you please help me?

Date: 02/25/2001 at 09:50:42
From: Doctor Mitteldorf
Subject: Re: What Is A Flop?

Dear John,

It's not flop, it's flops. Flops stands for "FLoating-point Operations 
Per Second," and we don't use "flop." 

A computer has different ways of representing numbers internally. 
Integers are the easiest, but they have to be whole numbers between 
-32,768 and 32,767. Integers multiply and divide quickly. "Floating 
point" numbers are the opposite. They're numbers that can have a 
decimal point as part of them, and a power of ten, which is the way 
the computer can tell 75.0 from 0.075 or 750,000,000.

Flops are a measure of computer speed. A "1 flops" computer can 
perform one multiplication of floating point numbers in a second.

A modern computer can multiply billions of floating point numbers in 
one second. Each billion multiplications in a second is a "gigaflops." 
A thousand billion multiplications per second is a "teraflops," and I 
think the biggest of today's computers can do that.

- Doctor Mitteldorf, The Math Forum   
Associated Topics:
High School Calculators, Computers
High School Definitions
Middle School Definitions
Middle School Terms/Units of Measurement

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