A report released last week by the US National Academies makes recommendations for tackling the issues surrounding the era of petabyte science.
1 byte = 8 bits (a letter, digit, symbol, etc.,.)The article states that it took more than a decade to decode the human genome with its 3 billion base pairs. That was in 2003. In only 6 years modern computers can run through that much data in a week or even less.
1 Kilobyte (1 K) = 1024 bytes
1 Megabyte (1 M) = 1024 Kilobytes
1 Gigabyte (1 G) = 1024 Megabytes
1 Terabyte (1 T) = 1024 Gigabytes
1 Petabyte (1 P) = 1024 Terabytes
Wikipedia gives some examples. All of the recorded works of humankind from the advent of history to the present in all languages would be about 50 Petabytes. AT&T has about 15 Petabytes of data transferred in its network each day. Google processes about 20 Petabytes each day. Facebook has about 1.5 Petabytes of images or about 10 billion pictures.
Pretty amazing that we are now entering "the era of the Petabyte."