The world’s distributed knowledge graph

The Underlay's purpose is to make knowledge accessible, connectable, and inspectable in service of the public good. Like the web, it is an emergent system and concept. It is built on a set of open source protocols and tools for structuring, storing, and aggregating distributed graph data.

How it Works

The Underlay is premised on the idea that a knowledge graph can be constructed from a series of distributed transactions called assertions. Multiple assertions are combined through a process called reduction and can be curated into useful groupings using collections.

The fundamental unit of data in the Underlay. Immutable statements that can specify their provenance and be cryptographically signed to allow for trust- and context-based filtering.
The process of taking a set of assertions and merging them to create a consistent state. Reduction allows assertions to be used as immutable transactions that change a larger graph.
Containers that enable curation of a usefully scoped set of graph data. Collections can be versioned and include a set of assertions, a reduction schema, other sub-collections, and metadata.
Registry icon
A hosted service that manages collections and implements usage policies. Registries can implement query capabilities, user authentication, or other features that make the content and its creation more accessible.
A first Underlay registry, R1, is being developed in parallel to the protocol and specs.


The Underlay maintains a RFC (Request for Comments) series to document our ideas, proposals, progress, and plans. RFCs represent snapshots of thinking and may contain outdated or deprecated ideas. For a more thorough description, see Danny Hillis's RFC 0.

View all RFCs

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