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ICT – lightweight implementation, IoT, timestamps.ixi. Interview with IOTA’s Lukas Tassanyi

ICT – lightweight implementation, IoT, timestamps.ixi. Interview with IOTA’s Lukas Tassanyi

Hey Lukas, it’s great that you share your precious time with us.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your involvement in the IOTA foundation?

Sure. I am a 20 year-old student of computer science living in Germany. Unfortunately, in university there is a lot of theory while I am a person who likes to program and actually build stuff. That‘s why I started playing around with IOTA as a community developer. My two best known projects are the IOTA Spam Fund ( and Qubic Lite. Thanks to the help of Eric Hop, I was soon offered to work for the IOTA Foundation. Obviously, I didn‘t let the opportunity slip away and started helping Eric with Qubic/Abra. With the introduction of the Omega team, I chose to be assigned with developing Ict, which is what I‘m currently working on right now. The community around Ict is awesome, so I‘m really having a good time with that.

If you had to explain ICT (IOTA Controlled agenT) to your uncle, what would you say?

That‘s a tough one. Imagine a future where all things are connected directly with each other. Cars, mobile phones, air conditioners and more. Your entire house might be connected to your neighbor‘s house. And there are sensors everywhere, measuring temperature, movements, even your heartbeat. Other things are acting based on this data. Now try to imagine the complexity of this entire infrastructure with all the information flowing through it. Pretty crazy, huh? Now your electric vehicle probably doesn‘t care about whether your toasts are finished. But it might be interested in whether your neighbor has some excess electricity to charge your car in exchange for a payment. So there are certain things which are meant to work together on a shared data basis while data from other devices nearby might just be considered noise. However, those other devices are still useful to connect other things which are too distant to connect directly, by letting them communicate indirectly over multiple of the devices inbetween. A world like this requires some kind of underlying protocol that allows things to exchange data. In addition, each device wants to hook into the parts of the data flow it considers relevant. On top of that, you also want to run apps on everything. Why not install that new app on your room light that makes it change colors based on the music you are listening to? All of this is exactly what Ict is aiming to cover. Providing a dynamic and fault-tolerant protocol for things to communicate and let them work together.

IOTA without ICT is a promising protocol for modular solutions on top of it in order to transact value and data securely. What is IOTA with ICT?

IOTA with Ict is what IOTA was originally meant for – the protocol the Internet of Things. Currently, IOTA is working completely over today‘s Internet. IOTA nodes are running mostly on remote servers in data centers. Many nodes are directly neighbored to the other end of the world. In the Internet of Things you don‘t want the things inside your home to communicate with each other over a data center on a different continent. It doesn‘t make sense neither from a latency nor a bandwidth nor a privacy perspective. If you want things to be fast, reliable, scalable and as private as possible, such things must be connected locally. Furthermore an IOTA full node requires lots of resources. You can‘t expect every light bulb to have multiple gigabytes of RAM available. As soon as you intend to connect tiny devices, you need a protocol designed in a lightweight fashion. Ict aims to enable access to the Tangle even to tiny devices despite their limited capabilities.

Can you give us an overview of the different modules for ICT that are being worked on?

Currently, there are three working IXI projects: CHAT.ixi – the first proof-of-concept IXI module developed by Samuel Rufinatscha and me; Report.ixi, a community-built network monitoring tool; and graph.ixi, a key component for Qubic – also developed by Samuel.

According to Samuel:
At the end of January, I released the first version of graph.ixi. Currently, I’m working on another important module – timestamping.ixi. Summarized very simply, graph.ixi provides an alternative data structure, the graph. A graph consists of vertices and edges. These vertices may be connected as desired – which enables the linking of any number of data pieces with any number of other data pieces. This second layer structure was developed to bypass the limit of transactions that can be referenced (in a transaction). It’s, therefore, another uniform solution for organizing data. As already mentioned, my work is currently focused on timestamping.ixi, a very important topic. Every transaction contains timestamps – the time when a transaction was attached to the Tangle. However, these timestamps cannot be trusted. Think of a malicious node trying to forge timestamps. Even if we can’t trust a specific timestamp, we are able to determine the time with some confidence. This confidence interval can be built through inspection of other transactions relative to the transaction that is to be analyzed.

Lukas, what is your personal vision of the greater picture of IOTA and ICT in 24 months from now?

I think the next two years will be very significant for IOTA to mature. Behind the scenes, the IoT is already emerging rapidly. It is of uttermost importance for IOTA to position itself early in the right spots to grow into an industry standard. Having taken the hard path to register the IOTA Foundation as a non-profit organization here in Germany, IOTA obviously has a huge advantage. This is most notably through the IOTA Foundation‘s close relationships and collaborations with the industry. With all the crypto mania finally cooling out, IOTA is fully geared towards enabling true adoption while successfully separating itself from this unstable and unhealthy environment. Right now there is a lot of progress going on in our research department on the coordicide, spam protection measures and more. Right now the kinks of the protocol are being worked out in order to move IOTA ever closer towards its final vision. Regarding Ict, in two years it will either have failed or succeeded. Right now, as a project of the omega team, it is more of an experimental solution we are exploring to prepare for the actual Internet-of-Things. If everything works out, we will have a network consisting of a mix of IOTA Full Nodes (IRI/cIRI) running on more powerful services and Ict running on all the weak devices. In the Internet-of-Things, there will be infinite use cases. I expect to see many interesting applications to be built on top of Ict. Having our strong community in mind, I have no doubts about that.

Thank you, Lukas, for these interesting insights.
Also thanks to Samuel Rufinatscha for his remarks.
speed ahead!

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