[P4-design] jargon: target, architecture, target architecture
jnfoster at cs.cornell.edu
Wed Oct 19 15:05:38 EDT 2016
The current version of the P4_16 specification uses the term "target
architecture" in a number of places. In discussions with people at
Barefoot, we've been finding it's cleaner to simply refer to "target"
(e.g., a software switch, FPGA, or ASIC) or "architecture" (a description
of a set of P4-programmable parser and control blocks, externs, etc.) We've
observed that while "target architecture" makes perfect sense grammatically
-- "target" is an adjective that modifies "architecture" -- combing both
terms into a single phrase actually seems to muddy the waters and cause
confusion for many people, especially those new to the language and this
One potential downside of using "architecture" is that what we call a
"target" a hardware person might call an "architecture." We've been
finessing this by saying "P4 architecture" or "architecture model" when
there is the possibility of confusion.
Do people have thoughts on this issue? If there are no objections, I would
propose to revise the specification to eliminate "target architecture" in
favor of "architecture" or "P4 architecture." (I've already sent Mihai a
version of the spec with this change, but obviously this should be
discussed within the group.)
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