[P4-design] jargon: target, architecture, target architecture

Han Wang hwang at cs.cornell.edu
Wed Oct 19 15:23:01 EDT 2016

I second this proposal. As a person who has been working with FPGA for a while, it make perfect sense to distinguish “target” and “architecture”. For example, on a FPGA “target”, I could implement store-and-forward “architecture" or a cut-through “architecture”.


> On Oct 19, 2016, at 3:05 PM, Nate Foster <jnfoster at cs.cornell.edu> wrote:
> 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 particular distinction.
> 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.)
> Cheers,
> N
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