Singapore’s AI agenda gets double boost!

NVIDIA Fellow Dr David Kirk
NVIDIA Fellow Dr David Kirk delivers the keynote address at the NVIDIA AI Conference.

Singapore’s aim to be an artificial intelligence (AI) hub has been boosted with two initiatives — the setting up of a shared AI platform for researchers and the awarding of scholarships to develop AI talents.

At the NVIDIA AI Conference in Singapore yesterday, NVIDIA and Singapore’s National Supercomputing Centre (NSCC) agreed to establish a platform to bolster AI capabilities among its academic, research and industry stakeholders and in support of AI Singapore (AISG), a national programme set up in May to drive AI adoption, research and innovation in Singapore.

Called AI.Platform@NSCC, it will provide AI training, technical expertise and computing services to AISG, which brings together all Singapore-based research and tertiary institutions, including the National University of Singapore (NUS), Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore University of Design and Technology (SUTD), Singapore Management University (SMU), as well as research institutions in the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR).

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Tantalising line-up of speakers at NVIDIA AI Conference

More than 1,000 participants attending the NVIDIA AI Conference in Singapore next week are in for a treat as the organisers are bringing in a tantalising line-up of speakers.

The two keynote speakers are Dr David B Kirk, NVIDIA Fellow and inventor of more than 60 patents and patent applications relating to graphics design; and Dr Wanli Min, AI scientist of Alibaba Cloud, who will touch on A Revolutionary Road to Data Intelligence.

Besides these two, there are special guest-of-honour Chng Kai Fong, Managing Director of Singapore’s Economic Development Board, and a panel discussion on AI for the Future of Singapore Economy.

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China’s tech giants bet on NVIDIA Volta

China’s top technology companies are betting big on the NVIDIA Volta platform.

Alibaba Cloud, Baidu, and Tencent are incorporating NVIDIA Tesla V100 GPU accelerators into their data centres and cloud-service infrastructures to accelerate AI for a broad range of enterprise and consumer applications.

At the heart of the new Volta-based systems is the NVIDIA V100 data centre GPU. Built with 21 billion transistors, it provides a 5x improvement over the preceding NVIDIA Pascal architecture P100 GPU accelerators, while delivering the equivalent performance of 100 CPUs for deep learning. This performance surpasses by 4x the improvements that Moore’s law would have predicted over the same period of time.

Inspur, Lenovo and Huawei are using the NVIDIA HGX reference architecture to offer Volta-based accelerated systems for hyperscale data centres. Using HGX as a starter “recipe,” original equipment manufacturer and original design manufacturer partners can work with NVIDIA to more quickly design and bring to market a wide range of qualified GPU-accelerated AI systems for hyperscale data centres to meet the industry’s growing demand for AI cloud computing.

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NVIDIA to hold first AI-focused conference in Singapore in October

With artificial intelligence (AI) being a hot topic this year, NVIDIA is organising its first AI-focused regional conference in Singapore on October 23 and 24.

The event will be held in two parts with the first day focusing on Deep Learning Institute (DLI) workshop where participants will received hands-on training on deep learningl and the second day filled with keynote addresses, panel discussion and three tracks. It is targeted at data scientists and senior decision makers in the field of AI in both public and private sectors.

“Singapore is aiming to be the world’s first smart nation and AI is playing a critical role. NVIDIA is well positioned to help drive the government’s Smart Nation initiative with the development of solutions based on AI. Our GPUs are making headlines across the world by enabling many breakthroughs in various industries using deep learning,” said Raymond Teh, Vice President of APAC sales and marketing at NVIDIA.

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ICML: Gathering of the brightest in AI

“I’m amazed at the quality of the papers presented. The project teams’ line of thinking and breakthrough concepts are refreshing,” exclaimed a leading artificial intelligence (AI) scientist at the International Conference on Machine Learning (ICML) in Sydney.

International Convention Centre Sydney was a massive hive of activities as 3,000 of the world’s top researchers, developers and students in AI gathered for ICML. The participants moved rapidly from one workshop to another and took great interest in the exhibition booths of top deep learning proponents such as NVIDIA, Google and Facebook.

With so many bright young talents. the event proved to be a good fishing ground for vendors as they held recruitment interviews at their booths, as well as posted openings on the board.

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Finally, the Big Bang for AI!

I am AI opening video at GTC 2017 keynote.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is not new. In fact, it has so many false starts over the past 60 years. The term went into hibernation for a long time.

Research into AI began way back in Dartmouth College in 1956 and was constantly associated with being the next frontier in the 1980s when mainframe computers ruled and supercomputers were a ginormous investment that very few could afford.

Despite the research put in over the years, the technology never quite took off and fell flat in many instances.

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Worldwide services market to cross US$1 trillion mark by 2018

IDCGlobal IT services and business services revenues are expected to cross the US$1 trillion mark for the first time in 2018, according to IDC.

Worldwide services spending totals for 2016 are expected to stay within the US$900 billion range and by 2020 expected to near US$1.1 trillion.

With more than US$100 million worth of spending each this year, the largest services markets will be key horizontal business process outsourcing (BPO) and systems integration services, which will also generate the largest revenue pools over the 2016-2020 forecast period. Business Consulting Services is forecast to outpace both markets in terms of growth.

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IBM and Mastercard to collaborate on market analytics for smaller merchants

IBM logoIBM and MasterCard are partnering to offer smaller merchants real-time, analytics-based market insights on revenue, market share, customer demographics and competitors in a particular location and across multiple locations.

The solution integrates IBM Watson Analytics with insights based on aggregated and anonymised MasterCard transaction data through MasterCard Advisors Local Market Intelligence (LMI).

According to MasterCard’s latest research, more than seven out of 10 smaller businesses in Asia-Pacific expect higher business costs in 2016.  With this enhanced analytical platform powered by MasterCard Advisors and IBM, merchants will hence be better equipped to make informed decisions that lower costs based on a deeper knowledge of their business’ financial strengths and pitfalls.

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Giving researchers instant feedback with immersive visualisation technologies

At GTC South Asia, Monash University shared how it has leveraged GPU technology to transform the way research is done. Entelechy Asia catches up with the university’s Professor Paul Bonnington (Professor and Director of E-research Centre) and Dr Wojtek James Goscinski (Coordinator of E-research Centre) to find out more about the deployment and how NVIDIA GPUs have made a great difference in research.

Singtel leverages Appier’s programmatic TV platform to help advertisers reach right audience

appierAs the digital space becomes more cluttered and complex, advertisers are finding it increasingly difficult to determine the best way to reach their target customers.

Singtel Advertising has taken a step towards helping advertisers address this conundrum by leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) technology. It has inked an agreement with Appier to introduce the first programmatic TV solution in Singapore, enabling advertisers to more effectively reach Singapore’s substantial but fragmented TV-watching population.

With Appier’s programmatic TV platform, advertisers can now plan TV campaigns based on specific target audience profiles and purchase Singtel TV’s inventory with just a few clicks. Appier’s channel recommendation system will also incorporate insights from Singtel Advertising’s existing suite of analytics capabilities, enabling brands in Singapore to leverage automation to identify the most relevant channels.

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GfK and Abacus to collaborate on big data analysis

gfk_logoGfK and Abacus have agreed to advance the analytics available to the travel industry by supplying anonymised booking data for the specialist GfK Travelscan report.

GfK will receive a feed of the aggregated weekly live bookings of participating Abacus agents, initially based in Singapore, to produce a set of predictive analytics that should help to refine travel retail strategy for the sector.

“We are delighted to intensify our partnership with the leading provider of travel agent solutions across the APAC region. This will help to scale the robustness and representation of GfK Travelscan, while offering added value to the Abacus client base,” said Laurens Van Den Oever, Global Industry Lead of Travel & Hospitality at GfK.

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IBM turns to NVIDIA to power OpenPOWER-based systems

IBM PowerHaving exited the x86 server business, IBM has turned its focus to a new range of systems that leverages GPU acceleration delivered by NVIDIA.

Built on IBM’s POWER8 processor, the new IBM Power S824L servers are optimised for big data workloads. The new systems tightly integrate IBM and other OpenPOWER member technologies, including NVIDIA’s GPU accelerator technology for the first time, to unleash computing performance to help enable banks to better analyse risk, energy companies to more precisely locate oil reserves, and scientists to more quickly identify cures for diseases.

They provide clients the ability to run data-intensive tasks on the POWER8 processor while offloading other compute-intensive Big Data workloads to GPU accelerators which are capable of running millions of data computations in parallel and are designed to significantly speed up compute-intensive applications.

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Mobile data to overtake voice in Malaysia in 2017

IDCMobile data is expected to bring in more revenue than mobile voice in Malaysia in 2017, according to IDC.
Despite the penetration rate of Malaysian mobile users exceeding 140 percent and high prepaid-postpaid ratio, mobile operators have still been able to maintain their revenue growth. Total revenue has grown by 35 percent in the last three years, and IDC expects the revenue to continue to grow to RM27.6 billion in 2018 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 2.6 percent.
“Mobile data revenue will continue to grow strongly at CAGR of 8.5 percent and become the main driver of the total mobile revenue in the next five years,” said Alfie Amir, Research Manager of Telecommunications at IDC Malaysia.

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Apacer introduces SATA 3 SSD

Apacer SFD 25H-2_loApacer has launched the SATA 3 SFD 25H-M SSD, which features up to 1TB capacity with really fast sequential read/write speed of 510/420MB/second.

To cater to industrial applications, its 512GB version is also designed to operate in the harsh environment of industry-level extended temperature (-40°C ~ 85°C). The product also features anti-shock, anti-vibration, low-power consumption and high-speed transmission.

It can improve access efficiency of servers as an alternative to traditional hard disks, and provide outstanding efficiency and highly reliable operating environment. In addition, it can be applied to embedded devices for industries such as medical, military, gaming, and transportation, especially in airborne surveillance system. The SFD 25H-M is able to keep on recording data repeatedly when working at heights and in low temperatures.

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Companies need to catch up with mobile customers

ForresterCompanies worldwide are quickly realising that mobile has not only changed digital operations, but that it will fundamentally change entire businesses in decades to come, according to Forrester Research.

2014 will be an incremental year on this journey, as companies increase investments to transform their businesses and race to keep up with the growing mobile mind shift, with an installed base of more than two billion smartphones globally. In the report, Forrester Analysts Thomas Husson and Julie Ask outline key mobile trends anticipated for 2014, including::

  • Big data, big data, big data. Mobile is transformative but only if consumers are engaged in their exact moment of need with the right services, content, or information. Insights gleaned from data over time will be essential to know how to best serve customers in that moment.
  • Mobile advertising will start to mature. New mobile-centric ad formats will emerge, with more effective mobile video inventory and more mobile ad network inventory shifting to the exchanges.

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IBM and NVIDIA to supercharge data centre applications

NVIDIAIBM logoIBM and NVIDIA plan to collaborate on GPU-accelerated versions of IBM’s wide portfolio of enterprise software applications — taking GPU accelerator technology for the first time into the heart of enterprise-scale data centres.

The collaboration aims to enable IBM customers to more rapidly process, secure and analyse massive volumes of streaming data.

“Harnessing GPU technology to IBM’s enterprise software platforms will bring advanced, in-memory processing to a wider variety of new application areas,” said Sean Poulley, Vice President of Databases and Data Warehousing at IBM. “We are looking at a new generation of higher-performance solutions to help data center customers overcome their most challenging computing problems.”

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New NVIDIA Tesla K40 speeds up supercomputing and big data analytics

NVIDIA Tesla K40The NVIDIA Tesla K40 GPU accelerator is arguably the world’s highest performance accelerator ever built. It is capable of delivering extreme performance to a wide range of scientific, engineering, high performance computing (HPC), and enterprise applications.

Providing double the memory and up to 40 percent higher performance than its predecessor, the Tesla K20X GPU accelerator, and 10 times higher performance than the fastest CPU, the Tesla K40 GPU is the world’s first and highest-performance accelerator optimised for big data analytics and large-scale scientific workloads.

Featuring intelligent NVIDIA GPU Boost technology, which converts power headroom into a user-controlled performance boost, the Tesla K40 GPU accelerator enables users to unlock the untapped performance of a broad range of applications.

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Customer experience management is top IT priority for telcos in 2014

ovumCustomer experience management (CEM) has emerged as the top driver of telco IT investments in 2014, according to Ovum’s ICT Enterprise Insights. Telco IT spend is expected to reach US$60.7b by 2017, with investments geared towards telecoms infrastructure (cloud platforms, server virtualisation and BSS/OSS systems to support LTE implementations) and online channels to support customers’ increasingly digital lifestyles.

In the largest survey of senior IT executives ever conducted, Ovum reveals a long-term shift in spending towards customer-oriented systems and on improving customer satisfaction within the telecoms industry.

Survey respondents identified multi-channel integration and service personalisation as top areas of focus in the next 18 months, with 67 percent and 61 percent planning to increase spending in these two areas, respectively. Elsewhere, business intelligence and advanced analytics (predictive or big data analytics) will be key for operators — more than 80 percent of respondents will deploy these at the network level in an attempt to offer an enhanced connected experience with predictable, consistent, and relevant services at each point of interaction in the customer lifecycle.

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Cisco and NetApp expand FlexPod portfolio

NetApp cisco Cisco and NetApp have broadened the FlexPod portfolio with new validated designs across the entire portfolio, highlighted by the introduction of FlexPod Select for dedicated data-intensive workloads.

The FlexPod portfolio now includes FlexPod Datacenter (formerly FlexPod) for core enterprise data centres and service providers, FlexPod Express (formerly ExpressPod) for medium-sized businesses and FlexPod supports the growing need to tie storage, networks, applications, and analytics (such as big data) into a more automated, responsive system that increases efficiency and lowers operational expense.

The new offerings build on the joint vision and strategy of Cisco and NetApp to unify branch offices, core data centers, service providers, and dedicated application infrastructures.branch offices, and FlexPod Select for data intensive workloads. FlexPod Select is the first family in the FlexPod portfolio to address targeted workloads, such as high-performance applications.

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Gartner: Top 10 strategic technology trends for 2014

Gartner3D printing, personal cloud, the Internet of Everything — these buzzwords today are expected to be among the top 10 strategic technology trends next year, according to Gartner.

Gartner defines a strategic technology as one with the potential for significant impact on the enterprise in the next three years. Factors that denote significant impact include a high potential for disruption to IT or the business, the need for a major dollar investment, or the risk of being late to adopt.

A strategic technology may be an existing technology that has matured and/or become suitable for a wider range of uses. It may also be an emerging technology that offers an opportunity for strategic business advantage for early adopters or with potential for significant market disruption in the next five years. These technologies impact the organisation’s long-term plans, programs and initiatives.

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Beginning of the Digital Industrial Economy

GartnerWorldwide IT spending is forecast to reach US$3.8 trillion in 2014, a 3.6 percent increase from 2013, but it’s the opportunities of a digital world that have IT leaders excited, according to Gartner.

The beginning of the Digital Industrial Economy will make every budget an IT budget; every company a technology company; every business a digital leader, and every person a technology company.

“The Digital Industrial Economy will be built on the foundations of the Nexus of Forces (which includes a confluence and integration of cloud, social collaboration, mobile and information) and the Internet of Everything by combining the physical world and the virtual,” said Peter Sondergaard, Senior Vice President of Gartner and Global Head of Research.

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Huawei lab head first Chinese to receive AAAI fellowship

HuaweiDr Qiang Yang, Head of Huawei’s Noah’s Ark Lab, has been elected a fellow of AAAI (the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence).

AAAI Fellow is the highest honour in the artificial intelligence (AI) community, recognising a small group of AAAI members who have made significant and sustained contributions to the field of artificial intelligence. This year, AAAI elected eight fellows from across the world.

Yang is the 1st AAAI Fellow in Greater China and first among Chinese Scientists worldwide. He was elected “for significant contributions to AI planning, data mining and case-based reasoning” in AI. Yang is already a fellow of the institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, International Association for Pattern Recognition, and The American Association for the Advancement of Science.

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SAP and hybris to tap “customer engagement” market

hybrisCustomer engagement — that’s what SAP and hybris hope to deliver as a new category of enterprise software. It’s about providing customers with a consistent unified experience. Leveraging the omnicommerce expertise of hybris and the enterprise software strengths of SAP, the two are providing the best of both worlds — data and e-commerce technologies.

The ideal solution is something that can manage data and process complexity across channels. We want to be the leader in this space” said Ariel Luedi, Chief Executive Officer of hybris.

“We have an edge over Oracle and IBM as we are two generations younger so our solutions are easier to implement. Our time to go live is much shorter than our competition,” he added.

Twistcode leverages GPU power for big data

By Edward Lim, Managing Consultant, CIZA Concept

FTwistcodeounded in 2006, Twistcode does research and development in high performance computing technology, especially massive-parallel computing and applications using central processing units (CPUs) and graphics processing units (GPUs). It thrives in accelerating any repetitive algorithm and/or process in most environments.

With its focus on high performance computing, the young and dynamic company hopes to let its clients – enterprises and government organisations – concentrate on what’s important to them. It provides services such as rendering and modelling, and tweaks technologies and twist codes to adapt to customers’ needs.

Frustration over cell architecture
It was frustration over Sony’s cell architecture that prompted Twistcode to consider other options for its work.

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Gartner adjusts worldwide IT spending projection downwards to 2% growth this year

GartnerGartner has adjusted its worldwide IT spending forecast for 2013 downwards to US$3.7 trillion in 2013. Last quarter, the research firm predicted a 4,1 percent increase compared to 2012 but that projection has been sliced by half to 2 percent. This reduction takes into account the impact of recent fluctuations in US dollar exchange rates. 

The Gartner Worldwide IT Spending Forecast is the a leading indicator of major technology trends across the hardware, software, IT services and telecom markets. For more than a decade, global IT and business executives have been using these highly anticipated quarterly reports to recognise market opportunities and challenges, and base their critical business decisions on proven methodologies rather than guesswork.

“Exchange rate movements, and a reduction in our 2013 forecast for devices, account for the bulk of the downward revision of the 2013 growth,” said Richard Gordon, Managing Vice President at Gartner.

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IDC: 3rd platform will drive China’s smart manufacturing sector

IDCIDC believes that IT vendors can leverage business opportunities created by China’s smart manufacturing policies, endeavours to consolidate relationships with governments and industry associations, and enhanced R&D innovation utilising 3rd Platform technologies (cloud computing, big data, social business, and mobility).

Smart manufacturing has been identified and supported by the Chinese government as the key field for further development. In line with this, the national ministries have released research that could drive the continuous construction of IT infrastructure in manufacturing enterprises. Next-generation technology architecture or 3rd platform has triggered clear demands from enterprise customers and created a thorough R&D ecosystem.

Since 2011, the Ministry of Industry and IT of PRC, along with the National Development and Reform Commission, have been releasing a series of research papers on smart manufacturing. IT service providers could identify potential business opportunities by analysing the subject directions and final approved lists.

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Gartner: Top 10 technology trends for the energy and utilities sector

GartnerGartner has identified the top ten technology trends affecting the global energy and utility markets in 2013, as the industry faces significant challenges from ongoing environmental sensitivity, changing policymaker attitudes and consumer expectations.

“Searching for successful business models that will address these issues and generate anticipated shareholder returns in uncertain regulatory settings is a top priority for this industry,” said report author Kristian Steenstrup, Vice President and Gartner Fellow. “This is in addition to protecting the security of critical generation and delivery infrastructure, as well as maintaining system reliability with aging physical assets. Public and private utilities are looking at how technology can reduce cost, drive efficiency and enhance competitive advantage.”

According to Steenstrup, what was once considered a conservative and slow-moving industry has seen a wide range of innovation from within and outside the traditional IT organization. He believes that understanding business trends is a crucial requirement for energy and utility organisations to create a successful IT strategy in this market.

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Master database management system gives telcos the edge

hybrisIn a highly competitive and dynamic market, telcos are increasingly looking at multiple channels to sell their services and products. Many players have turned to personalisation and business analytics in order to retain and win customers.

However, James Chu, Regional Sales Manager for Southeaast Asia and Telco of hybris, believes that taking an additional step will give them the edge.

“We offer our customers one more step – master database management (MDM) system. MDM curates inventory so that customers can find what they want easily and on any device,” he explained.

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Leveraging GPU power for big data analytics

NVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsun Huang chats with Shazam CTO Jason Titus on using GPUs for audio search.
NVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsun Huang chats with Shazam CTO Jason Titus on using GPUs for audio search.

Think graphics processing unit (GPU) and most would relate it to mainly gaming. But enterprises are finding new ways to leverage the power of GPUs to tackle big data analytics and advanced search for both consumer and commercial applications.

Shazam, Salesforce.com and Cortexica are among those  expanding the use of GPUs beyond their traditional role of processing massive data sets and complex algorithms for high performance computing science and engineering applications. They rely on NVIDIA Tesla GPU accelerators for areas as diverse as audio search, big data analytics and image recognition.

“GPU accelerators provide great value to applications with lots of data or computations,” said Sumit Gupta, General Manager of the Tesla accelerated computing business at NVIDIA. “A growing number of applications that provide mobile service and social media analysis have both. And that’s prompting their providers to turn to GPU accelerators as they scale up their infrastructure to meet growing demand.”

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Gartner: Worldwide IT spending to reach US$3.7 trillion in 2013

GartnerWorldwide IT spending is projected to total US$3.7 trillion in 2013, a 4.2 percent increase from 2012 spending of $3.6 trillion, according to the latest forecast by Gartner. The 2013 outlook for IT spending growth has been revised upward from 3.8 percent in the 3Q12 forecast.

Gartner analysts said much of this spending increase is the result from projected gains in the value of foreign currencies versus the US dollar. When measured in constant dollars, 2013 spending growth is forecast to be 3.9 percent.

The Gartner Worldwide IT Spending Forecast is the leading indicator of major technology trends across the hardware, software, IT services and telecom markets. For more than a decade, global IT and business executives have been using these highly anticipated quarterly reports to recognize market opportunities and challenges, and base their critical business decisions on proven methodologies rather than guesswork.

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