Friday, July 25, 2008

Playstation3 is a Real FLOP!

When you hear the word 'flop', what do you think?

If a movie 'flops at the box office', it is not very popular. If Mr. Lockyer does a 'belly flop into the pool at Aurora Court Recreation Center', he has probably splashed a lot of people. If a political candidate 'flip-flops on an issue', she is not being clear on what she will do if she is elected.

Since I'm a computer geek, when I hear the word 'flop', I think about computers.

In computing, FLOPS (or flops or flop/s) is an acronym that means FLoating point Operations Per Second. The more flop/s a computer can do, the better it is at solving super-duper big math or science problems. A basic calculator, for example, can do somewhere around 10 flop/s. This means that it can do ten mathmatical calculations in one second. A Playstation3 (which, of course, is a computer) can do many, MANY flop/s. For this reason, it is not unknown for scientists to buy a few hundred PS3 systems, hook them together, and have them solve huge math calculations.

One computer recently smashed the flop/s record by operating at more than 1 petaflop/s (if you were to read that out loud, you'd say 'more than one petaflop per second'). So, how much is a petaflop?

Peta is the same as a quadrillion. No, that's not a made up number. It is the same as a million billion, and it looks like this:

1 000 000 000 000 000.

That's right. There is a computer out there that can do a petaflop in a second. This computer is called the IBM Roadrunner. Read about it here. The words are big, but you don't need to understand every word to understand the article. Stick with it, sound out the big words, and use clues from the text to figure out what they mean. If you get really curious, you can always Google>"define:word" (remember not to put a space between the colon and the word you want defined).

Want to have some fun learning about large numbers? Surf on over to Math Cats or go to Google, type, "really big numbers", and check out some of the results. If you're really good at searching, why don't you try to find out how many flop/s your favorite gaming console can do? Which is faster: a Wii, a PS3, or a 360?

3 comments:

Maja G. said...

Ms. Bromley... that article about the flops was so cool. I never knew there could be so many definitions of the word flop. Although when I think of the word flop, the first thing that pops into my head is the word boring. So many people in the world(mostly kids) use some random words inbetween themselves to describe some other words. And flop reminds me of boring. I'd use it in a sentence like: "Geez! What a flop!" But thanks for posting all this cool info over the summer!

CINNAMON/Simon said...

GREETINGS FROM THE PEEL SCHOOL BOARD (SIMON)
Well even though i'm not in this school anymore... i've decided to check whats up.... anyways... for me flop means slobby to me mostly because it sounds like blob... anyways... i've learned something from my english teacher, and imma tell you what it is!
(you can teach it to the gr 6 english class... if you still have a gr 6 english class...)
OREP do you know what that acronym means? Well heres a hint its what you need for a good anwser for questions
Well you may not want me to tell you so you can bust your brains while figuring this out but i'll tell you anyways
Opinion
Reason
Explanation
Proof
Well if you took the EQAO practice from Ms.Bromley last year you should have known all of this except for the acronym, well i think i'll stop now before I break the character limit (if there is one but if there is i'm still not break it) So farwell from ME! SZ/Cinnamon

Roxy Bromley said...

Cinnamon,

How lovely to hear from a B.G. alumnus. And all the way from Peel, no less. Very cool.

I like your English teacher's acronym. It sums up almost the entirety of our EQAO prep lessons from last year.

If you check the blog in October, you'll find that I've posted a link to the brand new Beverly Glen website (which is currently in production).

Hope grade seven rocks as much as grade six did!