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Stratum is a proposal for an open source client-server "Overlay" protocol that enables thin clients (currently used by Electrum client). Stratum protocol is also used for pooled mining as a replacement for obsolete getwork protocol. Full mining service specification is available on Slush's pool website. See also on the forums and the official site.

Tables showing miner/server support for Stratum mining protocol:

Miner mining.set_difficulty client.reconnect client.add_peers client.get_version client.show_message mining.get_hashrate mining.get_temperature
Stratum proxy Yes Yes No Yes Yes No No
cgminer (>=2.8.4) Yes Yes No Yes No No No
poclbm (>=20121020) Yes Yes No Yes No No No
Server mining.get_transactions dynamic difficulty Job frequency
Slush's pool Yes No 30s
BtcGuild No Yes 30s