The Digital Society s DATA

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1 The Digital Society s DAYof DATA

2 THE DIGITAL SOCIETY INITIATIVE The Digital Society Initiative is an integrated education and research platform that seeks to enable and transform Brown University s ability to generate, manipulate, synthesize and visualize data into research discovery, educational practice, business outcomes, technology innovation and life experiences. Day of Data, May 18, 2012 at Brown University projects/digital-society COVER IMAGES (left to right) top row: Peter Goldberg; Flickr user #libertas; NASA; NASA; Peter Goldberg second row: Peter Goldberg; Flickr user #uair01; Peter Goldberg third row: NASA fouth row: Sheila Bonde; Peter Goldberg; NASA fifth row: Peter Goldberg; Flickr user #libe; Steven Lubar; Flickr user #rosefirerising; Peter Goldberg bottom row: Flickr user #brain_blogger; John Huffman; Peter Goldberg; Chris Rose; Peter Goldberg; Flickr user #libertasacad

3 THE DAY OF DATA Introduction DATA AS A COMMON LANGUAGE Panelist Presentations DATA ACROSS DISCIPLINES Storyteller Presentations WORKING GROUPS Breakout Discussions APPENDIX Conference Participants Acknowledgements & Gratitudes

4 IN SCORES OF UNIVERSITIES, corporations, laboratories and research centers around the globe, there are thousands of people engaged in trying to analyze and understand data and to utilize it in meaningful ways. Brown University s Day of Data, sponsored by the emerging Digital Society Initiative, was a day for faculty to share stories of data and its transformative impact across disciplines. More importantly, this Day of Data explored the role of the academic in our evolving digital society. Today, data plays an increasing role in making decisions, enabling discoveries and guiding the innovation needed to address challenges facing our world, such as, climate change, energy and security, cures for cancer and poverty. We ve created all these new technologies and generated all this data, but we forgot the significance of the human role in data. Who will tell its story? At Day of Data, expert panelists from across sectors discussed the rising importance of data in this new world and the various emerging opportunities, partnerships and initiatives. They challenged the audience to explore new ways to engage data, embrace advances in technologies and tools and think differently as data-enabled faculty and students to accelerate discovery and innovation. Faculty from across disciplines shared stories spanning time, space, technology and media: from archival files on global economic policy sparking novel digital practices, to online search censorship inspiring new digital poetry, to understanding how big data can yield advances in the study of the human brain. They learned from each other s data experiences and forged potential new partnerships. JAN HESTHAVEN Professor of Applied Mathematics at Brown University; Director of the Center for Computation & Visualization; Deputy Director, ICERM Day of Data participants, from the humanities to the hard sciences, embraced the new digital world. They revealed that data creates a bridge between traditional disciplines, dissolving barriers, opening up new channels of communication, lines of research and commercial opportunities. The discussions clearly illustrated that novel integrated research and education approaches and creative incentives are required to empower the data-driven academic to accelerate solutions and impact our world. A data-driven world requires human understanding and capabilities to interact with and explore the data we so easily generate. Multidisciplinary training, expertise and collaborations are needed to share valuable data stories. A data-centric approach promises to be the engine that sparks the human imagination to take risks and build unorthodox relationships to create a braver and better world for all. Data creates a bridge between traditional disciplines, dissolving barriers, opening up new channels of communication, lines of research and commercial opportunities. 2 3

5 110 PARTICIPANTS 6 UNIVERSITIES 14 ORGANIZATIONS 20 DISCIPLINES 1 DIGITAL SOCIETY 4 5

6 All areas of research today are affected by the availability of large amounts of data. What we are witnessing is the development of a new discipline distinct from computer science or computational science and a new way of performing research that involves analyzing, storing, transmitting and visualizing huge quantities of data. DATA AS A COMMON LANGUAGE During the opening session, four invited panelists shared their experiences and discussed public and private big data initiatives, models and platforms. In a world that demands cross-sector, cross-disciplinary models to tackle the world s grand challenges, they emphasized how data can be used as a bridge, dissolving traditional barriers and opening up new channels for research, collaboration, commercial opportunities and education practices. CLYDE BRIANT Vice President for Research 6 7

7 PETER FOX Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute DATA AS A COMMON LANGUAGE PANELISTS (left to right) Peter Fox, Steve Miller, Chris Mentzel; Sastry Pantula (not pictured) joined the conversation via live video feed Peter (far left) is the Tetherless World Constellation Chair and Professor of Earth and Environmental Science and Computer Science at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Previously, he was Chief Computational Scientist at the High Altitude Observatory of the National Center for Atmospheric Research. Peter has a B.Sc. (hons) and Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics (including physics and computer science) from Monash University. Peter was awarded the 2012 Martha Maiden Lifetime Achievement Award for service to the Earth Science Information community, and will receive the 2012 European Geosciences Union Ian McHarg Medal for significant contributions to Earth and Space Science Informatics. In examining the lifecycle of data, Peter Fox noted that the progression of creation and gathering leading to data, presentation and organization yielding information, and integration and conversation culminating in knowledge is not linear. Beyond pure computation, he stressed the need for abduction (as opposed to induction and deduction), instinct and theory for the practice of good data science. Peter also described data science coursework at rpi, such as xinformatics and semantic escience. We ve got the data already, but we fundamentally lack the capability of how to exploit it, and it s the human piece in there that we are beginning to forget already...human intuition is needed in interacting with large-scale data. 8 9

8 SASTRY PANTULA National Science Foundation STEVEN MILLER IBM Sastry is currently on loan to serve as the Division Director, Division of Mathematical Sciences at NSF, where he is involved with a number of initiatives related to Big Data, Computational and Data-Enabled Science and Engineering and public access to scholarly publications. He has been a faculty member at North Carolina State University since 1982, where he has served as the Director of Graduate Programs and of the Institute of Statistics. Sastry is a Fellow of the AAAS and of the American Statistical Association, serving as its 105th President in Sastry received his B.Stat and M.Stat from the Indian Statistical Institute in Kolkata, India, and received his Ph.D. in Statistics from Iowa State University in Citing major media reports ( nyt, wsj), search engines such as Google, and the entertainment industry (Moneyball) Sastry illustrated the ubiquity of big data. Responding to this data tsunami, the National Science Foundation will make informatics and data science a priority over the next five years through igert, cds&e, bigdata and Cyber Infrastructure Framework for 21st Century Science and Engineering funding opportunities. One needs to have data-intensive and dataenabled skills, in addition to deep knowledge domain, and mathematical and statistical skills...but we are not trying to produce a jack of all trades, but to produce a person who has computational skills, and is able to communicate with domain sciences. As Program Director of IBM s Information Management Skills & Community team, Steven is responsible for IBM s Information & Analytics Professional of the Future program. With this program, IBM collaborates with schools in the US and abroad to develop the strong pipeline of talent needed for the next century with a focus on data scientists, information architects, information governance professionals and developers. Steven holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from the University of Minnesota. Steven described the skills needed by today s big data scientist or information architect. They must be π-shaped employees who need deep technical on one leg, interpersonal and business on the other and cross-disciplinary skills across the top. They must be able to work flexibly (given different time zones), collaboratively (given new social media), cross culturally (given global economy) and creatively. Unfortunately, no single training program currently exists that encompasses all these skills. Start thinking about the skills data science requires...it is a true multidisciplinary program that spans across departments... to be a really skilled data scientist requires a fresh way of thinking about the problem

9 CHRIS MENTZEL The Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation Chris (left) is currently developing a strategy for long-term investment in data-driven discovery that will enable scientists to turn the scientifi c data deluge into opportunities to address some of today s most important research questions. Chris identifi es the people, advanced instrumentation and information technologies that help solve important data-rich science questions. He received his Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics from the University of California, Santa Cruz and is currently pursuing graduate studies in Management science and Engineering at Stanford University. Chris identified the common features of successful projects, especially in the natural sciences, for funding by the Moore Foundation. Those features include: (1) collaborations, particularly involving computer science, mathematics/statistics and design; (2) data science that incorporates substantive expertise, computational skills and math/ stats skills; and (3) the knowledge of when to build new tools and when to tweak old ones. We can t support the people who produce these (data-driven) tools for science in the current way that science is incentivized and funded... If you are a data scientist in this world and don t have the paper count of other peers, then you are at a disadvantage, even if your tools could potentially have a greater impact on the world of science

10 VISUAL DOCUMENTATION Jane Androski and Emily Sara Wilson, of Design Agency, worked throughout the conference to visually capture and document the conversations, questions and connecting threads that arose during the Day of Data. SESSION ONE: Data as a Common Language (pg. 7) Jane and Emily visually documented the panelists presentations as they unfolded. The result: a visual map (pg. 30) which held a space for key concepts, connections and questions. Conference participants added to and annotated the map according to their own interpretations (at left) throughout the day. SESSION TWO: Data Across Disciplines (pg. 17) Audience members were provided notecards on one side were visualizations of data across a range of disciplines, on the reverse, a place to record their thoughts, questions and reactions to the storyteller presentations. The cards were handed forward to the visual documentation team throughout the session and were transcribed directly on the wall of the presentation space. The responses were categorized into one, or more, of four topics bio-, eco-, visual-, and emerging informatics in order to inform the working group sessions that would follow (pg. 33)

11 The Day of Data advanced my thoughts on the extraordinary potential we have to enlarge our individual specialties by embracing the interdependent signals received through a morning of fast moving and informative presentations. RICHARD FISHMAN Professor of Visual Arts, Brown University DATA ACROSS DISCIPLINES Twenty-four storytellers from a range of disciplines helped identify areas where data-enabled partners, resources, tools or technologies would be beneficial to driving discovery and innovation in research and education. Participants and presenters alike used the opportunity to explore new areas, to make new connections with colleagues and to create networks/collaborations across the disciplinary divide

12 BROWN UNIVERSITY President ECONOMICS CHRISTINA PAXSON Christina Paxson highlighted the challenges she s encountered in applying big data to public policy research and teaching. When working with data sets of a highly personal nature (e.g., Medicare, Social Security earning records), privacy issues come to the fore. In terms of teaching, she noted that many students lack the formal training needed to work with big data. On the other hand, there is also the tendency to substitute technology and computation for well-designed research questions and critical thinking. LIFESPAN HOSPITAL SYSTEM Professor; VP & Chief Research Officer NEUROLOGY PETER SNYDER The Discovery and Validation of Biomarkers for Alzheimer s Disease Peter Snyder told the story of the Alzheimer s Disease Neuroimaging Institute (adni), a grand experiment in data sharing on a global scale. Through the participation of dozens of medical institutions and funding from the nih and private industry, there are now reliable biomarkers for Alzheimer s detection in living subjects (as opposed to post-mortem). This novel partnership and open-source model will one day lead to the diagnosis and treatment of Alzheimer s before the damage is done. BROWN UNIVERSITY Professor, Classics JOHN BODEL Digital Data and the Ancient Historian John Bodel described how big data has transformed the study of ancient history, not so much in terms of the generation of new types of data, but rather in historians access to it. He charted the trajectory of the first-of-its-kind, textbased concordance of the Roman historian Livy to the proliferation of digital databases that collect corpora of inscriptions from around the Mediterranean world. He anticipates that many of these data tools will soon be open source and online CLASSICS

13 COMPUTER SCIENCE BRADLEY HOSPITAL Director, PediMIND Program; Associate Director, Research PSYCHIATRY / PEDIATRICS BROWN UNIVERSITY Associate Professor; Center for Computational Molecular Biology BEN RAPHAEL Data Challenges in Human and Cancer Genomics Ben Raphael used the analogy of a puzzle with millions of similar pieces to convey the challenges posed by cancer genomics. Despite the proliferation of data made available by the plummeting costs of genomic sequencing, complex algorithms and supercomputing are still needed to detect the subtle genetic mutations associated with cancer. DANIEL DICKSTEIN Bipolar Bites: The Hunt for Bio-behavioral Markers of Pediatric Bipolar Disorder Daniel Dickstein appealed to the medical community, and beyond, for greater collaboration and sharing of big data, especially from fmri imaging, to help mitigate the devastating effects of pediatric bipolar disorder. Identifying biobehavioral markers is essential to earlier diagnosis and prevention. He pointed out that childhood leukemia, which used to be a death sentence, is now highly treatable, in large part thanks to parents, healthcare providers, researchers and funders joining forces and sharing data. BROWN UNIVERSITY Professor; WOMEN & INFANTS HOSPITAL Chief of Pediatrics GENETICS LITERARY ARTS JAMES F. PADBURY Knowledge Based Bioinformatics and Genetic Approaches to Preterm Birth James Padbury offered a cautionary tale in the use of big data. For decades there had been little progress in understanding the causes, predicting and preventing preterm birth. Genome-wide association studies, which utilize huge data sets, held out great promise, but ultimately produced no breakthroughs. Through focused permutation testing, Dr. Padbury s research group has not only made significant progress, but also created a platform applicable to the genetic analysis of other conditions. BROWN UNIVERSITY Professor, Literary Arts JOHN CAYLEY From Natural to Aesthetic Language Processing John Cayley drew attention to the profound impact of big data, especially through Google, on language. Much writing and research today is done through the portal of network system word searches, which are highly deterministic and driven by big data. He urged writers to engage with these tools critically and aesthetically. To illustrate this point, Dr.Caley presented his collection of zero count Google poems. BROWN UNIVERSITY Associate Professor; Watson Institute ANTHROPOLOGY KEITH BROWN The Science of Fellow-Feeling: Mapping Brains, Tracking Things & Long-Distance Empathy Keith Brown s story began with the visual power of massive suffering (e.g., photographs of holocaust victims shoes) to elicit empathic responses across time and space. His own research into the visualization of commodities on a massive scale in a globalized economy has led to the following question: How can social scientists, digital designers and neuro-scientists work together to generate hard data about empathy and promote long-distance fellow feeling

14 BROWN UNIVERSITY Assistant Professor, Center for Statistical Sciences BIOSTATISTICS XI LUO Learn Brain Statistics from Big Data Xi Luo likened his brain research to finding a needle in a haystack. fmri imaging generates hundreds of billions of data points, and genes interact with each other in complex ways, making big data even bigger. His job is to determine which of those data are relevant to the neurological disease in question (10%) and narrow that data set down even further to find the few key biomarkers. UNIVERSITY OF RHODE ISLAND Professor, College of the Environment & Life Sciences FISHERIES & ANIMAL SCIENCE MARTA GOMEZ-CHIARRI Barely Keeping My Head above Water: Oysters Diseases, Climate Change and Genomics Marta Gomez-Chiarri told the story of how multiple institutions and disciplines came together to help save populations of diseased oysters along the eastern seaboard. She and her students collected genetic sequences from disease-resistant oysters, but lacked the training in bioinformatics to analyze the data, as well as the necessary data storage capacity. Enter the Rhode Island Genomics and Sequencing Center and Brown s Center for Computation and Visualization. MARINE BIOLOGY LABORATORY Director, Center for Library and Informatics COMPUTER SCIENCE NATHAN WILSON The Data Behind the Encyclopedia of Life Nathan Wilson presented the Encyclopedia of Life, a web-based database of all life on earth. More than 200 partners contribute content in the form of text and images, which gets synthesized into taxon concepts and curated through a web interface. Data sharing is central to the project the web site is available in Arabic, Spanish and soon also in Chinese and utilitarian (much of the data is computational). BROWN UNIVERSITY Senior Lecturer, School of Engineering ENGINEERING Work in Progress CHRISTOPHER BULL Christopher Bull began by defining the challenge faced by many working with big data: how to design systems that can adapt to situations with constantly changing tools, technology and information flows, as well as ill-defined goals? Making Providence s Knowledge District more sustainable is a case in point with the specific challenge of integrating diverse data from regional utility companies and multiple state and local agencies

15 BROWN UNIVERSITY Professor, American Studies; Director, JNBC for Public Humanities HISTORY Museum Data STEVEN LUBAR Steven Lubar gave an overview of museum data, which is a large, diverse and complex set of artifacts, each with its own story. Museum specialists strive to gain intellectual control of their collections through interviews, photos, drawings and field notes. The goal and greatest challenge of the Haffenreffer Museum is to share its data with a global community through exchanges, repatriation (including virtual) and making its collection available online. BROWN UNIVERSITY Professor, Applied Math APPLIED MATH CHARLES LAWRENCE How Big Data Changed Genetics & Biology Charles Lawrence provided a long-term perspective on the use of genetics in biology. Decades ago genetic research was less data intensive and driven largely by hypothesis. With gene sequencing the amount of data increased exponentially and the approach become more statistical. Whereas statisticians and biologists rarely worked together in the past, today there is much more collaboration, particularly in the field of statistical genomics. BROWN UNIVERSITY Associate Director, Spatial Structures in the Social Sciences; Population Studies & Training Center GEOGRAPHY RACHEL FRANKLIN Space Geographical Data in the Social Sciences Rachel Franklin highlighted the importance of geographical data to a range of social scientific disciplines and noted how the increased quantity, velocity and geo-location of data are revolutionizing the field of geography. Among the challenges she noted are dealing with this data deluge, visualizing it and asking the right questions, which includes validation. BROWN UNIVERSITY Director, Population Studies and Training Center ECONOMICS ANDREW FOSTER Testing Regulatory Behavior from 500 Miles Up Andrew Foster used a variety of data sources (e.g., census, weather, satellite) and economic theory to examine the effect of voluntary certification on industrial companies in Mexico. He concluded that this type of loose regulation had little effect on the firms that were already in compliance, but changed greatly the behavior of firms that were not, in that regulators had more resources to scrutinize them more closely

16 BROWN UNIVERSITY Professor, Archaeology, and the History of Art & Architecture ARCHAEOLOGY SHEILA BONDE The Ethics of Uncertainty: Representing Data from the Past Sheila Bonde posed questions about the ethics surrounding the presentation of incomplete data. Archaeological data is highly fragmentary and non-repeatable in an experimental sense. Adopting a pars pro toto approach fills in some of the gaps, but by no means all. To acknowledge some of these gaps, Bonde color codes her architectural reconstructions (e.g., 13th-century French abbey) and strives for transparency of uncertainty. BROWN UNIVERSITY Assistant Professor, School of Engineering NEUROSCIENCE JOHN SIMERAL File-based Neural Data Repository for Flexible, Rapid Investigations in Brain Gate Pilot Clinical Trial John Simeral described the process of data collection, transfer, storage and distribution for the Braingate project, the goal of which is to give physically limited patients direct neural control of assistive technologies. A key component of this process is to make this data widely available in simple forms so that team members from multiple disciplines (e.g., engineers, computer scientists, neurologists) can work with the data in ways that are most comfortable to them. BROWN UNIVERSITY Associate Dean, Biology; Division of Biology & Medicine BIOTECHNOLOGY EDWARD HAWROT Genomics and Proteomics Unleashed: A Digital Path to Personalized Medicine in Rhode Island? Edward Hawrot highlighted the plummeting cost of genomic sequencing ($100M in past, $10K now, >$1K in future) and how, as a result, the amount of genetic data is increasing exponentially. He noted, however, that other factors impact an individual s proclivity to disease and response to treatment namely, the complex interaction of multiple genes acting in both positive and negative ways. Dr. Hawrot closed by enumerating Brown s and Rhode Island s potential to be a leader in the development of personalized medicine. HARVARD/BROWN UNIVERSITY HISTORY JO GULDI Hacking the Paper Machines: Digging for Data about Utopia Systems in the Bureaucratic Twentieth Century Jo Guldi reminded the audience that big data is nothing new. For the past 160 years, the post-colonial world has been carrying out various forms of land reform, generating enormous amounts of data in the process, much of which has been barely analyzed. She appealed to the computer science and linguistics communities to join her in harvesting the low-handing fruit of digitized data and meta-data through such tools as text sorting algorithms, geo-parsing and text citation analysis

17 BROWN UNIVERSITY Bioinformatics Analyst, Division of Biology & Medicine BIOINFORMATICS Galaxy: Make HPC Easier LINGSHENG DONG Lingsheng Dong laid out the data intensive workflow for next-generation sequencing. To simplify the sharing of this type of data, Galaxy software was created, replacing the 14 software packages previously in use. Because of the popularity of Galaxy, the Center for Computation and Visualization put it on its own server to facilitate the uploading and downloading of data at Brown. BROWN UNIVERSITY Associate Professor, Computer Science COMPUTER SCIENCE Data vs. Privacy ANNA LYSYANSKAYA Anna Lysyanskaya revealed the dark side of data abundance: privacy. How can researchers balance the privacy needs of their subjects with maintaining the integrity of the data? Limiting access and sanitizing the data are both imperfect solutions. Cryptography, either in the form of multi-party computation or homomorphic encryption, is currently the best available tool. RHODE ISLAND SCHOOL OF DESIGN EPSCoR coordinator; critic, Graduate Studies FURNITURE DESIGN CHRIS ROSE Rational and Sensory Aspects of Data in Complex Systems: The Breathing City Group (UK) Installation for the Royal Society Festival of Science London Chris Rose presented the work of the Breathing City Group, a science and art collaborative that explores the intersection of meteorological research, data visualization, 3D design, sound composition and video. Data streams from multiple sources (e.g., urban traffic flows, meteorological data), combined with the presence of the viewer (i.e., body heat), had a dynamic effect on an ice mass sculpture in central London. BROWN UNIVERSITY Professor, Program in Public Health BIOSTATISTICS JOSEPH HOGAN Electronic Health Records and HIV Treatment Outcomes in sub-saharan Africa Joseph Hogan emphasized the importance of the accessibility of electronic health records for optimizing the treatment of hiv in sub-saharan Africa, where the majority of the world s infections occur. Availability of this medical data in a timely fashion is especially important in the absence of critical diagnostic tools such as viral load testing. Among the main challenges for this global health work is the merging of statistics, operations research, computer science and clinical expertise. 29

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19 From our point of view, the Day of Data stressed the outstanding opportunities now surfacing to establish fruitful international collaboration on these issues across emerging inter-institutional and interdisciplinary initiatives. EDUARDO VERA University of Chile DATA WORKING GROUPS The working group sessions brought together all the Day of Data stories and their participants to allow faculty to think and work collaboratively and to imagine new directions, partnerships, methods and resources to define their future. In collaboration with the Office of the Vice President for Research, the Digital Society Initiative introduced Data Seeds to advance proposed working group ideas and teams and imagine transformative opportunities across fields. These seeds will support data-enabled activities such as, research pilots, working groups, shared infrastructure, data-enabled classroom projects or studios, lectures/symposia and more. Data Seeds request for ideas will be announced in Fall

20 EDWARD HAWROT & JANE ANDROSKI facilitators BIOINFORMATICS To generate new knowledge and share computational tools to advance the practice of medicine and the quality of healthcare by engaging and bridging expertise across computer science and the field of biology and medicine. How do we take advantage of our resources and transfer/ share data for accelerated discovery? Formalize and create a data management core facility & working groups to align with Brown s existing infrastructure. Identify networks and make data resources accessible. Share tools through common wikis or web sites and an annual tool fest. Improve training and skill sets so next generation is ready for the challenges of big data. MARTY DOWNS & MARGIE BUTLER facilitators ECOINFORMATICS To facilitate environmental research and management; advance our understanding of natural systems through access and development of datasets; and integrate ideas and application of mathematics, computer science, statistics and engineering into the study and management of ecosystems. How to match questions across fields to solve societal concerns? Connect and merge research of common interests by fusing complementary skills. Engage the community/citizen scientists in the research process via crowd sourcing

21 JOHN HUFFMAN & EMILY SARA WILSON facilitators VISUALINFORMATICS To bridge research and practice through the understanding of the interaction of large data sets across all fields of study and applications by using visualization techniques. How to visualize the conceptual? Make visualization tools accessible. Introduce visualization early on in process, rather than just an end product. Create a periodic table of visualization and categorize visualization based on the type of research. TOPICS IDENTIFIED political informatics teaching & research humanities people & data ethics culture policy open-access to data sociology of data education humane informatics data science collaboration BETSY STUBBLEFIELD LOUCKS facilitator EMERGING/OTHER Emerging topics (Human-Data Experience): to reestablish and redefine the human-data relationship; the revolution in information technology increasingly distances often simply by sheer volume researchers from their sources of data; the loss of immediacy that results necessitates changes in how data is experienced and evaluated. Is there a limit to what computers can do? What is the role or engagement of the human in validating and preserving data? Bring a humanities perspective into data science to translate the human voice and create a valuable story. Integrate humanities critical framework and create human-enabled data decision-making. Train and create data scientist across disciplines and define their role in the process

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