Architectural transparency is a term used in the context of operating systems. An architecture-transparent operating system integrates programs of different system architectures in such a way that they can work on the actual system platform without noticing any difference to their conventional platform. The operating system must be designed in such a way that it can theoretically integrate several such architectures.
The Wine project tries to achieve this with a Win32 environment, the behavior of which adapts to the common environment of the system. The HydrixOS project tried to offer a general approach, but this was limited to systems with common hardware properties (e.g. a byte must be 8- bit wide on every platform, etc.).
Architectural transparency should not be confused with a virtual machine .