Browse Definitions:
Definition

# order of magnitude

An order of magnitude is an exponential change of plus-or-minus 1 in the value of a quantity or unit. The term is generally used in conjunction with power-of-10 scientific notation.

In base 10, the most common numeration scheme worldwide, an increase of one order of magnitude is the same as multiplying a quantity by 10. An increase of two orders of magnitude is the equivalent of multiplying by 100, or 102. In general, an increase of n orders of magnitude is the equivalent of multiplying a quantity by 10n. Thus, 2315 is one order of magnitude larger than 231.5, which in turn is is one order of magnitude larger than 23.15.

As values get smaller, a decrease of one order of magnitude is the same as multiplying a quantity by 0.1. A decrease of two orders of magnitude is the equivalent of multiplying by 0.01, or 10-2. In general, a decrease of n orders of magnitude is the equivalent of multiplying a quantity by 10-n. Thus, 23.15 is one order of magnitude smaller than 231.5, which in turn is one order of magnitude smaller than 2315.

In the Standard International (SI) System of Units, most quantities can be expressed in multiple or fractional terms according to the order of magnitude. For example, attaching the prefix "kilo-" to a unit increases the size of the unit by three orders of magnitude, or one thousand (103). Attaching the prefix "micro-" to a unit decreases the size of the unit by six orders of magnitude, the equivalent of multiplying it by one millionth (10-6). Scientists and engineers have designated prefix multipliers from septillionths (10-24) to septillions (1024), a span of 48 orders of magnitude.

Also see prefix multipliers, scientific notation, significant figures, and Standard International (SI) System of Units.

This was last updated in September 2005

#### Join the conversation

Send me notifications when other members comment.
this sucks i understand notthing
Cancel
Perhaps, but who is at fault? The fool or the teacher of the fool?
Cancel
I do not think it is necessary to call the commenter below a fool. I think it would be best served to assist him/her in better understanding orders of magnitude.
Cancel
Very well explained, thank you
Cancel

## SearchCompliance

• ### PCAOB (Public Company Accounting Oversight Board)

The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) is a Congressionally-established nonprofit that assesses audits of public ...

• ### cyborg anthropologist

A cyborg anthropologist is an individual who studies the interaction between humans and technology, observing how technology can ...

• ### RegTech

RegTech, or regulatory technology, is a term used to describe technology that is used to help streamline the process of ...

## SearchSecurity

• ### email spam

Email spam, or junk email, is unsolicited bulk messages sent through email with commercial, fraudulent or malicious intent.

• ### distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack

A distributed denial-of-service attack occurs when an attack originates from multiple computers or devices, usually from multiple...

• ### application whitelisting

Application whitelisting is the practice of identifying applications that have been deemed safe for execution and restricting all...

## SearchHealthIT

• ### athenahealth Inc.

Based in Watertown, Mass., athenahealth Inc. is a leading vendor of cloud-based EHRs for small to medium-sized physician ...

• ### Affordable Care Act (ACA or Obamacare)

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is legislation passed in 2010 that changed how uninsured Americans enroll in and receive healthcare...

• ### HIPAA Privacy Rule

The Standards for Privacy of Individually Identifiable Health Information, commonly known as the HIPAA Privacy Rule, establishes ...

## SearchDisasterRecovery

• ### disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS)

One approach to a strong disaster recovery plan is DRaaS, where companies offload data replication and restoration ...

• ### data recovery

Data recovery restores data that has been lost, accidentally deleted, corrupted or made inaccessible. Learn how data recovery ...

• ### disaster recovery plan (DRP)

A company's disaster recovery policy is enhanced with a documented DR plan that formulates strategies, and outlines preparation ...

## SearchStorage

• ### GlusterFS (Gluster File System)

GlusterFS (Gluster File System) is an open source distributed file system that can scale out in building-block fashion to store ...

• ### virtual memory

Virtual memory is a memory management capability of an OS that allows a computer to compensate for physical memory shortages by ...

• ### yottabyte (YB)

A yottabyte is a measure of theoretical storage capacity and is 2 to the 80th power bytes, or, in decimal, approximately 1,000 ...

## SearchSolidStateStorage

• ### PCIe SSD (PCIe solid-state drive)

A PCIe SSD (PCIe solid-state drive) is a high-speed expansion card that attaches a computer to its peripherals.

• ### SSD caching

SSD caching, also known as flash caching, is the temporary storage of data on NAND flash memory chips in a solid-state drive so ...

• ### NVDIMM (Non-Volatile Dual In-line Memory Module)

An NVDIMM (non-volatile dual in-line memory module) is hybrid computer memory that retains data during a service outage.

## SearchCloudStorage

• ### RESTful API

A RESTful application program interface breaks down a transaction to create a series of small modules, each of which addresses an...

• ### cloud storage infrastructure

Cloud storage infrastructure is the hardware and software framework that supports the computing requirements of a private or ...

• ### Zadara VPSA and ZIOS

Zadara Storage provides block, file or object storage with varying levels of compute and capacity through its ZIOS and VPSA ...

Close