Protocol: \Pro"to*col\, n. [F. protocole, LL. protocollum, fr. Gr. ? the first leaf glued to the rolls of papyrus and the notarial documents, on which the date was written; prw^tos the first (see {Proto-}) + ? glue.] 1. The original copy of any writing, as of a deed, treaty, dispatch, or other instrument.

protocol: A set of formal rules describing how to transmit data, especially across a {network}. Low level protocols define the electrical and physical standards to be observed, bit- and byte-ordering and the transmission and {error detection and correction} of the bit stream. High level protocols deal with the data formatting, including the {syntax} of messages, the terminal to computer dialogue, {character set}s, sequencing of messages etc.

protocol: n 1: (computer science) rules determining the format and transmission of data [syn: {communications protocol}] 2: forms of ceremony and etiquette 3: code of correct conduct

protocol: n. As used by hackers, this never refers to niceties about the proper form for addressing letters to the Papal Nuncio or the order in which one should use the forks in a Russian-style place setting; hackers don't care about such things. It is used instead to describe any set of rules that allow different machines or pieces of software to coordinate with each other without ambiguity. So, for example, it does include niceties about the proper form for addressing packets on a network or the order in which one should use the forks in the Dining Philosophers Problem. It implies that there is some common message format and an accepted set of primitives or commands that all parties involved understand, and that transactions among them follow predictable logical sequences.

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