Explaining the IOTA Congestion Control Algorithm

This article was first published on IOTA Foundation Blog
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Explaining the IOTA Congestion Control Algorithm

This article explains in some technical detail the IOTA Congestion Control Algorithm (ICCA) used in the IOTA 2.0 protocol (Coordicide). We wanted to offer this overview to clarify the relationship between access and mana that was raised in our previous post about mana.  Furthermore, we are aware that many are eager to learn more about Coordicide, and stakeholders from across the IOTA landscape benefit from this knowledge. That said, the information contained in this article is not “required knowledge” to use IOTA. In addition, all of the aspects discussed in this article will be part of our full specification. If you have questions, please visit our Discord to discuss them with our developers and researchers. Congestion control is an important and fascinating aspect of Coordicide, so we hope that you enjoy this explanation.

We would particularly like to express our gratitude towards Bob Shorten and his team at Imperial College London for their work in co-developing this important algorithm. Their work has been instrumental in developing this important component and validating its behavior.  

For a fully detailed explanation, see our first article on this topic which has been accepted for presentation at the 7th IEEE/IFIP Workshop on Security for Emerging Distributed Network Technologies.

What is congestion control and why do we need it?

In most DLTs, information is relayed across the network through a process called gossiping, where participating nodes receive messages from one neighbor and then forward them to other neighbors. Naturally, nodes receive many messages, so they must decide which of these messages to relay to their neighbors and in what order to do so. A congestion control algorithm makes these decisions.

Congestion occurs when a network has more traffic than it can handle. Without proper congestion control, the network can become oversaturated and cease to ...

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