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Node Implementation - Voting

Part of work in progress Living Whitepaper

This page is part of the Living Whitepaper revisions currently underway to replace the original static whitepaper. These efforts include the Protocol Design and Node Implementation sections of the docs, which will cover and expand on details and topics covered in the original whitepaper.

See the bottom of the page for related whitepaper sections and other related details. Some of the sections and headers on this page may be in draft form or just suggestions/framework for later consideration. If you are interested in helping with revisions please connect with us on the #documentation channel on our Discord server.

Vote rebroadcasting

When a block is processed, Principal Representatives evaluate whether they can generate a vote for the block (dependent blocks already confirmed, etc.). If they can, they generate the vote and publish to all other PRs they are aware of in addition to 2*sqrt(peers) of non-PR nodes. To reduce the load on PRs nodes, they do not republish incoming votes - only Non-PR nodes republish other votes to 1/2*sqrt(peers) to ensure enough coverage across the rest of the network.

Due to the direct 1:1 relationship between PR nodes, their latency is mostly geographic/network based. For Non-PRs, there is some gossiping via the random distribution, so the number of hops required is what makes up a majority of the latency and the geographic and network latency is less of a factor.

Final votes

Nodes will treat votes differently depending on the value of their timestamp field, which results in two phases of voting. These votes can be considered non-final votes and final votes.

Non-final votes are generated when a node is ready to vote on a block and it has not seen enough vote weight to reach quorum. This non-final vote will have the current Unix time stamp in seconds in the timestamp field.

Once quorum is reached from votes received, the node will then generate a new final vote for the same block where the timestamps field contains the maximum value possible: 18446744073709551615.

In the above cases when evaluating quorum for generating a final vote, both non-final votes and final votes can be included. But a node will only consider a block confirmed when quorum is reached with all final votes. At that point the triggering of confirmation notifications, updating of confirmation heights, etc. occurs.

Rep crawler

The rep crawler is a repeating process to help track the online (actively voting) status of representatives. Although typical network activity highly propagates votes to many nodes on the network, there is no guarantee that a given node will receive a recent vote from a particular representative.

To help fill these potential gaps in online status, the rep crawler pulls a set of random representatives from its peers list - either 15 entries if the weight of peers is higher than quorum delta, otherwise 50 entries - and sends confirmation requests to them for a randomly chosen block in the local ledger.

If the confirmation acknowledgement is returned for those peers they will be considered online and actively voting. This ongoing crawl happens every 7 seconds on the live, beta and test networks, and every 0.1 seconds on the dev network for unit test purposes.

Online weight calculator

Whenever a vote signed by a particular representative is processed by the node, it will consider that representative to be online and included in the online weight calculations. This online status will remain for a period of 5 minutes after the vote processing and the clock will reset back to 5 minutess when additional voting is seen.

This online status is counted regardless of where the vote originated from - the rep crawler, live voting activity, etc.

Active transactions loop

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