# Supercomputers

## Background

In the world of computing floating point operations per second, or FLOPS, is a way to measure computer performance. This unique unit of measurement is useful in the fields of scientific computations that require floating-point calculations. The term FLOP, which is used for floating-point operation, is used as a unit for counting floating-point operations. Floating-point arithmetic is a tool that is used for very small or very large real numbers or computations that require a large dynamic range. The way to represent a floating-point is similar to the way scientific notation, except everything is carried to base two and not base ten. Floating-point representations can support a much wider range of values than fixed point, with the capability to represent very small and very large numbers

## How They Are Used

MIPS is another type of metric that measures computer performance. MIPS measures integer performance of a computer. An example of integer operation include data movement or value testing. Using MIPS is an adequate performance benchmark when a computer is used for database queries, word processing, spreadsheets, or to run many virtual operating systems. Frank McMahon invented the terms FLOPS and MFLOPS so that he could compare supercomputers for the day by the number of floating point calculation they performed per second. This method was much better than using MIPS to compare computers as this statistic usually had little bearing on the arithmetic capability of the machine.

#### Sources

- Supercomputers
- These are the world’s most powerful supercomputers
- IBM to deliver 200-petaflop supercomputer by early 2018; Cray moves to Intel Xeon Phi
- FLOPS
- Supercomputers
- The History of Supercomputers
- Semantic Markup
- HP’s New Supercomputer is Up to 8,000 Times Faster Than Existing PCs