nanosecond

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nanosecond

[′nan·ə‚sek·ənd]
(mechanics)
A unit of time equal to one-billionth of a second, or 10-9 second.

nanosecond

(unit)
(ns) 10^-9 seconds; one thousand millionth part of a second.

This is the unit in which the fundamental logical operations of modern digital circuits are typically measured. For example, a microprocessor with a clock frequency of 100 megahertz will have a 10 nanosecond clock period.

nanosecond

(1) One billionth of a second. Used to measure the speed of logic and memory chips, a nanosecond can be visualized by converting it to distance. In one nanosecond, electricity travels approximately a foot in a wire. Admiral Grace Hopper was famous for handing out strands of "telephone wire nanoseconds" to her audience whenever she lectured about technology. Holding the wire turns the unreal concept of a billionth of a second into reality.

Even at 186,000 miles per second, electricity is never fast enough for the hardware designer who worries over a few inches of circuit path. The slightest delay is multiplied millions of times, since billions of pulses are sent through a wire in a single second. In addition, today's chips contain more than a thousand feet of wire traces, which are the circuit pathways that carry electricity. See space/time, jiffy and ohnosecond.

(2) The time between a traffic light turning green and a New York City cab driver blowing his horn.
References in periodicals archive ?
LONDON and NEW YORK, February 24, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Corvil, a provider of latency management systems for high performance trading and market data, today announced that Nomura, the global investment bank, is using Corvil's Latency Management System to achieve nanosecond latency reporting for their ultra-low latency, Direct Market Access (DMA) platform, NXT Direct.
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However, analysis of high-frequency noise in the order of nanoseconds with conventional oscilloscopes and probes had been problematic because of the presence of extremely noisy waveforms.
For a fusion reactor to produce an energy gain, it must confine its fuel long enough, usually no less than a few nanoseconds, to ignite a self-sustaining thermonuclear burn.
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Testing of the first silicon has shown that the device delivers on the company's claims of 200 nanoseconds (ns) of total latency, and sustained full-rate throughput -- up to 10 Gbps -- on all 24 ports.
In effect, the photon conveyor belt extends the life of an electron-hole pair from mere nanoseconds to microseconds.