With the world now churning out so much data, the current number system just simply cannot cope. To combat this, and to avoid problems in the future the metric system has now been updated.
With the update of the metric system, a new number, ‘quetta’ has been revealed as the largest number. In short, it has a whopping 30 0’s after the one. To put that into context, there are just nine 0’s in a billion.
This also means that the largest current measurement of data is a quettabyte. The previous biggest numerical giant was the ronna - which boasts 27 0’s after the first digit. The latest prefixes were agreed upon at the 27th general conference on Weights and Measures which was held between November 15 and 18.
The conference takes place every four years in France, and this is the first time since 1991 that new additions have been made. The new prefixes have since been added to the International System of Units. To write out the new largest number, it would look like 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000.
Head of metrology at the National Physical Laboratory, Richard Brown, said “Most people are familiar with prefixes like milli- as in milligram. But these [new additions] are prefixes for the biggest and smallest levels ever measured.
“In the last 30 years, the datasphere has increased exponentially, and data scientists have realised they will no longer have words to describe the levels of storage. These terms are upcoming, the future”