Physics Help Forum How many calculations can this processor perform in a second?

 Electricity and Magnetism Electricity and Magnetism Physics Help Forum

 Jan 27th 2010, 03:27 PM #1 Junior Member   Join Date: Jan 2010 Posts: 1 How many calculations can this processor perform in a second? The semiconductor chip at the heart of a personal computer is a square 4 mm on a side and contains 10^9 electronic components. If each component is a square, what is the distance across each component? (this part was easy... it was 1 x 10^-4 mm) If a calculation requires that electrical impulses traverse 10^4 elements on the chip, each a million times, how many such calculations can the computer perform each second? The maximum speed of an electrical impulse is close to the speed of light, 3 x 10^8 m/s The second part of the question is what has me confused. I've submitted the answers 3 x 10^11 and 3 x 10^15, both of which are wrong. Any ideas on this? My attempted solution was as follows: c = 3 x 10^8 m/s (3 x 10^8 m)/(s) x (1)/(1 x 10^-7 m) = 3 x 10^15 Hz Sadly I only have 1 attempt left to submit the correct answer. It's an all-or-nothing point system. Thanks in advance
 Aug 31st 2010, 09:22 AM #2 Junior Member   Join Date: Aug 2010 Posts: 1 Can't believe I figured it out! Assuming you've already solved Part A, you should already know that each component measures 1×10^-4 mm. (1×10−4 mm) × (1×10^4 components) = 1 1 × 1,000,000 times = 1×10^6 mm Now we know the total distance the electrical impulses have to go is 1×10^6 mm. We will then use Conversion Factors to find out answer: (1.0calcs)/(1.0×10^6mm) × (3.0×10^8m)/(1.0sec) × (1000mm)/(1.0m) The answer you are left with is: 3×10^5 calculations/second ~pwnage

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