Technical Concepts in Under 123 Words

Ricky Takkar
Created on March 2, 2023 (updated every now and then)

123 words is an amount I feel comfortable with without adding citations because doing so would make the task of writing more daunting. Concision replaces granularity here, so proceed with caution.

1. Blockchain

A blockchain is a digital chain of blocks that contain transaction(s). Transactions may be batched together, depending upon design, to fit within blocks, that also contain other records to maintain the integrity of the chain, that are then appended to the chain. Common blockchain models operate in a decentralized fashion: myriad instances of the same chain live and update on different machines. Disparate algorithms attempt to achieve consensus between these instances and, in doing so, yield distinct tradeoffs related to speed, integrity and resource footprint. Pop culture overwhelmingly associates blockchain with cryptocurrency, but possible use cases are far greater. Blockchains are either “permissioned”, wherein a consortium grants access to select stakeholders to participate, or “permissionless”, wherein anyone can join. 
Word count: 120

2. Internet of Things (IoT)

Just as species communicate among each other, so do websites and apps. But what about things? What if, e.g., a sensor could be triggered to activate your morning breakfast routine soon as you stepped out of your shower? Your toaster would start toasting bread only after your Nespresso machine poured coffee in your cup, and your smart speaker would gear up NPR's Up First after you removed your bacon from the pan. Various network architectures can be leveraged as the communication medium between devices based on their software/hardware compatibility. Furthermore, design choices like centralized versus decentralized models affect outcomes like security, usability, and performance. The current state of IoT presents several security flaws yet sufficient potential to warrant excitement.
Word count: 120