Optimizing TON's Blockchain Efficiency: An Analysis of Canonical Cell Serialization

The The Open Network (TON) blockchain introduces a sophisticated mechanism for storing and processing data through a structure known as the “tree of cells.” A critical aspect of this system is the Canonical Cell Serialization (CCS), which employs a specialized algorithm for weight reordering to optimize the storage and retrieval of data. This article delves into the nuances of cell weight and the weight reorder algorithm, elucidating their roles in enhancing TON’s blockchain efficiency.

Cell Weight: The Foundation of CCS

In TON’s CCS, every cell within the tree structure is assigned a weight, which serves as a measure of its “heaviness” or importance. The calculation of cell weight is pivotal for maintaining a balanced tree, ensuring efficient data management. The weight assignment follows specific rules:

  • Leaf Nodes: Cells without children are considered leaf nodes, with a weight of 1.
  • Ordinary Cells: The weight of a non-leaf cell is the sum of the weights of its child cells plus 1.
  • Special Cells: Cells deemed ‘special’ are assigned a weight of zero, indicating their unique status within the tree.

The process of assigning these weights is critical for the subsequent steps of the weight reorder algorithm, ensuring that the tree remains balanced and that data can be efficiently accessed and manipulated.

Weight Reorder Algorithm: Enhancing Efficiency

The weight reorder algorithm is a cornerstone of CCS, tasked with optimizing the tree’s structure based on the weights of the cells. This algorithm involves several key steps:

  1. Initial Weight Assignment: Weights are set for each cell, considering the sum of child weights plus one for non-leaf cells. Special cells receive a weight of zero.

  2. Rebalancing References: For each root cell, the algorithm assesses whether its references (children) distribute the parent’s weight evenly. If not, weights are adjusted to ensure a uniform distribution among siblings.

  3. Adjusting Root Weights: The algorithm ensures that the sum of a root cell’s references’ weights does not exceed the maximum possible weight. It adjusts the root’s weight accordingly, either by reducing it to match the sum of its references’ weights or recognizing it as a special cell with zero weight.

  4. Reindexing and Recalculating Hashes: After rebalancing, the tree is reindexed to prioritize special nodes and their descendants. This step also involves recalculating internal and top hashes counts to reflect the updated structure.

The following table summarizes the differences between leaf, ordinary, and special cells in the context of CCS:

Cell Type Weight Calculation Role in CCS
Leaf Weight = 1 Serve as the basic unit of data storage
Ordinary Weight = Sum of child weights + 1 Facilitate the hierarchical organization of data
Special Weight = 0 Optimized for specific use cases within the tree


TON’s Canonical Cell Serialization presents a refined approach to data storage and management in blockchain technology. By intricately balancing the weights of cells within a tree and optimizing the structure through a sophisticated reorder algorithm, TON enhances the efficiency of data processing and retrieval. This mechanism not only underscores TON’s innovative blockchain design but also showcases the potential for advanced data structures to improve blockchain scalability and performance.