"Could we run Unix on that [AM3 computer architecture], i.e. reuse existing software as-is on the simple cores modulo recompiling the source code?" (Poss & Koening, AM3 towards a hardware Unix accelerator for many-cores, 2015)

I don't understand what the author means by modulo in the above snippet. It doesn't seem to mean the mathematical modulo operator, but I don't find another definition on the Internet.

  • 1
    This isn't an answer because I don't understand that either. I looked at the article, and my best guess as to the meaning of the full sentence is "Could we run an existing version of Unix on a computer system with many small cores, rather than on the types of systems currently in use with one or possibly a few large cores?"
    – Karen
    Dec 1, 2015 at 19:41
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    I don't understand the sentence, and I don't understand the explanation given in the only answer this question has so far (and I have a Master's in Computer Science, and am a native speaker of U.S. English for many years). I think the use of the word in the sentence could best be described as "poor".
    – rcook
    Dec 2, 2015 at 1:04

2 Answers 2


The mathematical definition is the source of this more idiomatic usage. The modulo operation partitions integers into equivalence classes, e.g. 5 modulo 4 = 1 means "in the world of modulo 4, 1 is the same as 5".

In the example, different software systems are deemed in the same equivalence class; the need to recompile the source is deemed irrelevant. You could replace modulo with "with the exception of" or "ignoring the need for" in the example to get a similar meaning sentence.


It's quite common for engineers to use the term mod (or modulo) to mean "not counting" (or "except for"). It means something that is small enough to not change the main answer, it's just a detail.

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