Teraflop: A teraflop is a measure of a computer's speed and can be expressed as: A trillion floating point operations per second 10 to the 12th power floating-point operations per second 2 to the 40th power flops Today's fastest parallel computing operations are capable of teraflop speeds. Scientists have begun to envision computers operating at petaflop speeds. Petaflop: A petaflop is a measure of a computer's processing speed and can be expressed as: A thousand trillion floating point operations per second (FLOPS) A thousand teraflops 10 to the 15th power FLOPS 2 to the 50th power FLOPS Today's fastest parallel computing operations are capable of teraflop speeds. The National Science Foundation, together with NASA and DARPA, has funded eight research projects for envisioning a petaflop computer. Cray says that its X1 supercomputer is "a major milestone en route to Cray's goal of delivering, by 2010, the world's first supercomputer able to sustain petaflops speeds...on a variety of challenging applications." A petaflop computer would actually require a massive number of computers working in parallel on the same problem. Applications might include real-time nuclear magnetic resonance imaging during surgery, computer-based drug design, astrophysical simulation, the modeling of environmental pollution, and the study of long-term climate changes. Read more about it at: Cray provides more information about the X1. More information on the projects can be obtained from the National Science Foundation .