peta- [PE tuh] +
(Greek: derived from penta-, "five"; a decimal prefix used in the international metric system for measurements)
Used in the metric [decimal] system as one quadrillion [U.S.] or thousand billionfold [U.K.], 1015 [1 000 000 000 000 000] The metric symbol for peta- is P.
2. One quadrillion bytes. A typewritten page is said to have about 2 000 bytes of data per side; therefore, a megabyte represents a 500 text page per side and a petabyte would be 500 billion pages.
A flop refers to the floating-point operations per second. It is considered to be a method of encoding "real" numbers within the limits of finite precision available on computers.
The IBM machine, codenamed Roadrunner, has been shown to run at "petaflop speeds", and it will be used for research into astronomy, genomics, and climate change. It has been modified to handle a greater bandwidth of data and to carry out more specialized calculations.
One trillion calculations, or floating point operations, per second.
The first supercomputer capable of crunching through a thousand trillion mathematical operations every second has been announced by IBM. This is roughly equivalent to the combined processing power of a 2.4-kilometer-high pile of laptop computers.
Blue Gene/P will be capable of a peak performance of 3000 trillion calculations, or floating point operations, per second (three petaflops); but its sustained performance is expected to level out at around one petaflop.
This unit is used in atmospheric science and other scientific contexts where large masses are considered.
A petajoule is 1,000,000,000,000,000 joules.
2. Dinosaurs are estimated to have vanished two Ps (petaseconds) ago.
A petawatt is one quadrillion watts. The laser is brighter than sunlight on the surface of the sun, but it only lasts for an instant, a 10th of a trillionth of a second (0.0000000000001 second).
The Texas Petawatt is the only operating petawatt laser in the United States; located at The University of Texas, in Austin. On Monday, March 31, 2008, the Texas Petawatt laser reached greater than one petawatt of laser power, making it the highest powered laser in the world.
Related "metric" families: yotta; zetta; exa; tera; giga; mega; kilo; hecto; deka; deci; centi; milli; micro; nano; pico; femto; atto; zepto; yocto.