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A quad is a measurement of information in Federation computers. While Federation computers still use binary code in some capacity, they also are known to use trinary code.

Measurement listing

The values of various amounts of quads can be expressed as kiloquads, megaquads, gigaquads, teraquads, petaquads or exaquads, depending on the order of magnitude of the data being expressed.


Whether the "garbled" portion of the data was a different subset of the entire message sent by Starfleet or a subset of the 68 kiloquads Arturis helped reconstruct is unclear.


  • Before being transported through a compressed data stream to the Midas array in the Alpha quadrant from the USS Voyager in the Delta quadrant, the Emergency Medical Hologram had to leave twelve megaquads behind to fit the bandwidth of the transmission. (VOY: "Life Line")


  • After Chakotay's bioneural energy was restored to his corporeal body, the Doctor mentioned that the procedure responsible involved "three neural transceivers, two cortical stimulators, and fifty gigaquads of computer memory." (VOY: "Cathexis")
  • The Emergency Medical Holographic program Mark I took up 50 million gigaquads of computer memory, noting that that was "considerably more than most highly developed humanoid brains." (VOY: "Lifesigns")
  • The Doctor had accumulated 15 thousand gigaquads of unnecessary information in his holomatrix, including opera and romantic relationships (VOY: "The Swarm")
  • After the warp ten test flight by Tom Paris on the Cochrane, the sensor logs of the shuttle collected nearly five billion gigaquads of information. (VOY: "Threshold")
  • Seven of Nine collected over 30 thousand gigaquads of research about romantic relationships. (VOY: "Someone to Watch Over Me")
  • After a long ordeal while in contact with a being known only as "the distortion ring" B'Elanna noted that they had over twenty million gigaquads of new information input into the ship's computer. (VOY: "Twisted")


Additional references


This terminology was originally developed by technical advisers to The Next Generation. The unit of measurement originated in the Star Trek: The Next Generation Technical Manual, and was also used in the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Technical Manual.

The terms quads and kiloquads in TNG were used in a manner consistent with the system defined in the Technical Manual. However, by the time Voyager was airing, they started using extremely large numbers that lacked internal consistency, such as "billions of gigaquads" and "billions of teraquads." If these are accurate, USS Voyager's computers are more advanced and have a capacity that is orders of magnitude greater than the ones just seven years earlier in TNG.

Writers and advisers deliberately used prefixes used with bytes in modern day notation (mirroring kilobyte, megabyte, gigabyte, and terabyte). The terminology "quad" was used to detract from comparisons possible with modern-day computing power, since reality frequently outstrips fiction when it comes to computer science. Current capabilities are orders of magnitude greater than what scientists expected them to be only 20-30 years ago, with capacities and speeds roughly doubling every two years as per [Moore's Law].

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