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Contributor(s): Matthew Haughn

(ZFlop) is a processing power of one septillion floating point operations per second (FLOPS).

The zetta in zettaflop represents 10 to the 21st power -- 10 multiplied by itself 21 times (which equals a septillion). IBM defines floating-point encoding as "a method of encoding real numbers within the limits of finite precision available on computers." With floating-point encoding, extremely long numbers can be handled relatively easily.

The computation of floating-point numbers is often required in scientific computing or real-time processing applications. FLOPS is a common measure for any computer that runs these applications. In descending order of size are: yottaflop, zettaflop, exaflop, petaflop, teraflop, gigaflop and megaflop.

Current supercomputers have reached petaflops processing levels. It is not expected that zettaflops processing will be achieved before 2030.

See our table of multiplier prefixes: Kilo, mega, giga, tera, peta and all that

This was last updated in July 2013

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