Intel bursts into life today, announcing its Terahertz Transistor. Tera is one of those words that'll be lolloping into the public consciousness over the next few years, in the same way that giga has become part of everyday life. Tera is to Giga as Giga is to Mega and Mega is to Kilo, and you can chart the way technology's progressed by the way we all used to think in terms of 360-kilobyte floppies and now worry about 100-gigabyte hard disks. Our processors used to run at a megahertz; now they do a gigahertz or two and, says Intel, here's how you get to the Tera. Expect that in the next five to ten years, although processors may not catch up immediately.
There's life beyond Tera, of course. The next SI unit prefix up is Peta -- and you can already find database vendors talking about petabyte storage -- followed by Exa, Zetta and Yotta. The yotta is an extremely capacious beast, being one tera teras, and nobody expects to find a 2.4 yottahertz PC in Dixons any time soon.
But it might be worth asking, just to see what they say.