instructions per second

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instructions per second

Instructions per second (IPS) is the execution speed of a CPU as follows:
KIPS   kilo    thousand IPS
   MIPS   mega    million IPS
   GIPS   giga    billion IPS
   TIPS   tera    trillion IPS

KIPS was a metric in the early days of computers but is still used for CPUs in low-end microcontrollers that are used by the billions. MIPS and GIPS are common metrics today as countless CPUs execute millions and billions of instructions per second. See TOPS and FLOPS.

IPS cannot be used to compare different CPU architectures. For example, RISC CPUs require more instructions than CISC to accomplish the same task. In the past, MIPS has been called "MisInformation to Promote Sales" as well as "Meaningless Interpretation of Processor Speed." See RISC and CISC.

IPS and Hz
There is a relationship between IPS and the clock speed of the CPU, which is measured in cycles per second (Hz). For example, if a CPU's clock is 64 MHz, and it takes four clock cycles to execute one instruction, 16 MIPS are executed. See Hertz and clock.

The first commercial computer in the 1950s, the UNIVAC I's CPU, which you could literally walk into, executed 2,000 instructions per second (2 KIPS). Today's computers execute a thousand times faster. (Image courtesy of Deutsches Museum, Munich, Archives, R2931.)

Trillions of IPS
Self-driving cars have to plot everything around them, which takes trillions of calculations. This scene (captured from an extremely informative Ted Talk by Chris Urmson, head of Google's driverless car program in 2015) shows all the objects recognized at the moment.
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References in periodicals archive ?
The GVPP crunches 20 billion instructions per second (compared to the mere millions of instruction per second of Pentium-class processors).
The IBM SP processes data at 690 billion instructions per second. When upgraded in September, the supercomputer will process weather data at 2.5 trillion instructions per second.
The new CHESS unit combines 64-bit processing power with a multi-task operating system and l50MIPS (million instructions per second) transfer speeds, which allows east, quality label printing.
In 1978, a Cray supercomputer processed 160 million instructions per second and cost $20 million, according to Peppers and Rogers.
Samsung Electronics and Compaq Computer Corp have jointly developed a 64-bit 1-GHz Alpha CPU that can process more than 18,000 instructions per second, at least twice as fast as the data processing speed of Intel's market-leading 550-MHz series chips.
According to Lucent Technologies, CPUs that currently process 400 MIPS (millions of instructions per second) should be able to process 100 GIPS (billions of instructions per second) in less than 15 years.
For instance, in 1974, the Intel 8080 microprocessor delivered one million instructions per second (1 MIPS) for $1,250.
Processing has gone from hundreds to billions of instructions per second. However, a person's ability to process information remains at about 300 units per minute, as it has been from the beginning of time.
"For $4,000, we can put 150 million instructions per second on the desktop of anybody in the world.
Yes, if you measure the costs of processing data - a common unit of measure is MIPS (millions of instructions per second) - microprocessors represent a less-costly platform than mainframes.
If these trends continue, by the year 2000, microprocessors will operate at a speed of 100-200 millions of instructions per second (MIPS).
The computer array that runs the simulators can process 670,000 instructions per second.

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