I am reading a paper called Back to Thin-Core Massively Parallel Processors by Ami Marowka (Computer, 44(12):49–54, 2011; IEEE Xplore).

However I have a question about the title of the article: what does "thin core" (and for that matter, "fat core") mean?

Thank you!


1 Answer 1


Thin-core is a simple processing unit, slower with less registers, for example GPU core or small, low-energy core.
Fat-core is full-fledged CPU core. The mobile version of CPU is still fat-core

From article:

The IBM Blue Gene/P supercomputer (1 Pflop) is an example of a contemporary large-scale system design (294,912 processors) based on a many-thin (850 MHz, 1 Gbyte) processing-core approach.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ The PowerPC 450 in the Blue Gene/P would appear to be (assuming similarity to PPC 440), dual issue out-of-order with a 7-stage pipeline. This is not comparable even to a Cortex M4 (higher end of M) 3-stage scalar in-order; thin is clearly relative. Also a GPU "core" is more a vector lane than a core. $\endgroup$
    – user4577
    Commented Oct 4, 2017 at 23:38
  • $\begingroup$ @PaulA.Clayton I agree with your comment. The term "thin-core" itself is not well defined, I wanted to reflect the article and the meaning used there, because I have read it, but I would like to encourage you to give your own answer, it seems that you have in-depth knowledge about internals so you can shed more light on this relative term. $\endgroup$
    – Evil
    Commented Oct 5, 2017 at 0:14

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