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In computing, FLOPS (or flops or flop/s) is an acronym meaning FLoating point OPerations per Second. The FLOPS is a measure of a computer's performance, especially in fields of scientific calculations that make heavy use of floating point calculations, similar to the older, simpler, instructions per second. Since the final S stands for "second", conservative speakers consider "FLOPS" as both the singular and plural of the term, although the singular "FLOP" is frequently encountered. Alternatively, the singular FLOP (or flop) is used as an abbreviation for "FLoating-point OPeration", and a flop count is a count of these operations (e.g., required by a given algorithm or computer program). In this context, "flops" is simply the plural rather than a rate.

Although FLOPS is very common used as unit, the use as unit is not SI conform. An expression like {}_{1\,\mathrm{flops}} is actually interpreted as {}_{f_{flop} = 1\,\mathrm{s}^{-1}\,\Leftrightarrow\, n_{flops} = 1}.

NEC's SX-9 supercomputer was the world's first vector processor to exceed 100 gigaFLOPS per single core. IBM's supercomputer dubbed Roadrunner was the first to reach a sustained performance of 1 petaFLOPS measured by the Linpack benchmark. As of June 2010, the 500 fastest supercomputers in the world combine for 32.4 petaFLOPS of computing power.[1]

For comparison, a hand-held calculator must perform relatively few FLOPS. Each calculation request, such as to add or subtract two numbers, requires only a single operation, so there is rarely any need for its response time to exceed what the operator can physically use. A computer response time below 0.1 second in a calculation context is usually perceived as instantaneous by a human operator,[2] so a simple calculator needs only about 10 FLOPS to be considered functional.


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