Due to everything going on with the DIMACS program ending this week, my team didn’t have as much time as we would’ve liked to work on the P4 exercises and start exploring the Tofino hardware. With that being said, I was able to do some basic work with the Tofino router in between working on the DIMACS paper and presentation. I was able to build and execute a modified hello-world boilerplate example project on the physical Tofino router. Finding everything and translating the instructions to work on our specific software environment took a little bit of work but I eventually succeeded running the example code. The next step from here is reverse engineering that code to figure out what exactly is being done on the hardware level. I’ve taken a brief look at it so far and it’s definitely more difficult to follow than the P4 exercises we’ve been working on. The code is written in an earlier version of P4 with some different syntax and some hardware-specific constructs that are a bit lower-level than what we’ve been working with in the previous exercises. As time permits, I’m hoping to work a little bit more with the code beyond the end of the DIMACS program to gain a better understanding of what it’s doing.
This week marked the conclusion of the DIMACS 2021 REU program. Tavis and I finished work on our paper and respective reflections and submitted them after giving our final presentation on Thursday. Srinivas had helped proofread our paper earlier in the week and we had added a few last-minute things related to the Tofino router; I’m happy with what we ended up with. Our presentation went relatively smoothly too. While we probably could’ve slowed things down a bit and covered our research topics in more depth, I felt like we touched on everything important in a relatively accessible way. It was interesting to see how all the other students’ projects have developed over the past nine weeks and I was glad to share what my team had accomplished in that time as well. This program has been very valuable and I’m very thankful for the skills I’ve gained and the connections I’ve made with Srinivas and the NetSys team. I’ve already arranged to keep in contact with the NetSys team via Slack and potentially meetings (as time permits) in the future. I’d like to thank everyone who made this experience possible: Srinivas for his mentorship, the NSF OAC for their funding, the authors of my letters of recommendation, and everyone at the DIMACS REU program.