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New terminology of IOTA

2020.06.19

According to Sanders’ explanations, the new IOTA protocol is divided into three layers: the network layer, the communication layer and the application layer, whereby these have parallels with the OSI model, a reference model for network protocols widely used in computer science. The individual tasks of the individual layers are basically easy to understand: This communication requires simple and standard terminology for the new components. However, until recently, researchers, including myself, have mainly used potentially confusing “in house” and ad hoc names. So, several researchers and engineers began devising proper terminology. Recently, we have completed this task.

The network layer manages the connections and packet transmissions between nodes. The communication layer creates a standardized platform for storing and communicating information. Developers are then free to design decentralized applications on the application layer while abstracting away the lower layers.

The network layer is the lowest layer and also the most technical. It is in this layer that the connections between the nodes are managed by the autopeering and peer discovery modules and by the clutch protocol. The communication layer contains the “Distributed Ledger” or the Tangle and stores and communicates the data.

New terms introduced on this layer are messages, which were previously called transactions and bundles. This term was chosen to make clear that the IOTA Tangle does not only transmit values but also data. Furthermore, the foundation will abolish the terms “trunk” and “branch”. Each message refers to two other messages, which the IOTA Foundation now calls parents.

On the application layer, any application can be developed and each node can decide which application to run. Only the core applications are mandatory, including the value transfer application, the distributed random number generator (DRNG) and the Fast Probabilistic Consensus (FPC) protocol.The basic unit of data in the IOTA protocol is called an object. Messages are an object type. Other types include generic data objects, which, as the name suggests, are only data, as well as value objects, DRNG objects and “FPC Opinion objects”. To be transferred into the Tangle, each object must be encapsulated within a message.

Author : Jake Simmons