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Definition: protocol

The format of data and the procedure that manages the exchange of the data between two locations. The term protocol is commonly used with networks and communications. However, a protocol may refer to an exchange of data between applications within a computer, although that process is more likely called an application programming interface (see API). The term comes from the Greek "protokollon," which was the cover page to a manuscript that provided a description of the contents. See communications protocol, protocol stack, blockchain protocol and OSI model.