What Does Gigaflop Mean?

A gigaflop is equal to one billion floating-point operations per second. Floating-point operations are the calculations of floating-point numbers. Terms like "gigaflop" are typically used to understand processor speed and how computers can handle data-intensive operations that would be common in some types of scientific or quantitative processes.


Techopedia Explains Gigaflop

Computer systems use floating-point numbers to represent extremely large numbers that would otherwise require many digits to record. IT professionals use the term "flops" to indicate how quickly computers can calculate these numbers. The use of terms like "gigaflop" correspond to other terms like "gigabyte," which represents one billion individual bytes of data storage.

It’s important to note that in terms of processing speed and power, even the average device such as a laptop or desktop computer has already advanced beyond the capacity of a single gigaflop. With the microprocessors of past years advertising a gigaflop capacity, today’s common processors can handle dozens of gigaflops. Some of the most cutting-edge systems that handle data for large institutions are already calculating performance at a much faster rate, for instance, where professionals may use the terms "teraflops" and "petaflops." One teraflop is equal to 1000 gigaflops, and one petaflop is equal to 1,000,000 gigaflops.


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Margaret Rouse

Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…