It's not very complicated! I was already familiar with some of the rudiments of the IRC protocol from hacking on a simple IRC bot library. The parts that I needed to figure out were:
ability to track when workers came on/off-line so they could be sent jobs
easily pass data from operator -> workers and back again
The video above shows the process or registration that happens when a worker comes online. Workers must know beforehand the nick of the command program (or have a way of finding it out) -- they then send a private message to the command program indicating their presence. The command program acknowledges this, adds the worker's nick to the registry of available workers, and sends the worker the location of the command channel. The worker then joins the channel and is able to start executing tasks from the operator.
In the event a worker comes online and cannot reach the command program, it will keep trying every 30 seconds until it receives an acknowledgement. Additionally, every two minutes the command program pings the workers, removing any dead ones from the list.