Symposium for the Society of Young Network Scientists

June 20, 2017 // Indianapolis, Indiana

The 1st Symposium for the Society of Young Network Scientists (SYNS) is being organized by Network Science Institute at Northeastern University (NetSI) and Indiana University’s Network Science Institute (IUNI).  One of the goals of the meeting is to initiate the Society of Young Network Scientists (SYNS).  The meeting will provide the opportunity for students to discuss, explore and design the new society of like-(network science)-minded colleagues. By the end of the meeting, students will have made decisions about how the organization should be run, and identify who will carry out what roles. Our hope is that this meeting will recur annually for years to come, providing an important forum for building a cohesive and diverse community to ensure next generation of network scientists can build the essential collaborative community required for developing solutions for the major problems facing the 21st century workforce.


The goal for this meeting is to help young network science scholars gain both a common foundational training in network science (including approaches, languages, problems), as well as a theoretical and substantive foundation in a particular discipline. The symposium will be designed in a way to facilitate the exchange of information, build community, and establish a core set of faculty and NS advisors and mentors. Our target is to both expand the quality of the cohort, and to build the basis for future collaborations.


If you are a PhD student /young scientist working on network science, and you would like to help planning and organizing the symposium or to be part of SYNS, contact us at


Follow us on twitter: @NetSciPhDs

Welcome to the 1st Annual Consortium for the Society of Young Network Scientists (SYNS)!


Network Science is a diverse field of study that engages students from virtually every disciplinary field. While a few research centers are dedicated to network science, many young scientists often discover the field through deep inquiry in their own discipline. These researchers are often based within a department where they may be the only network scientist in their graduate cohort, or even in their entire graduate department.


This inaugural gathering of the Society of Young Network Scientists (SYNS) will bring together researchers who come from a variety of disciplines but are united by their common interest in network science. These scholars will need to be able to leverage massive data sets, understand scalability of tools, methods, and theories, in order to better understand, predict, influence, and design systems. This founding cohort will be the first in a professional network of transdisciplinary scholars who will serve as a foundation for the next generation of network scientists. Exposure to multiple disciplinary perspectives and diverse frameworks and applications will become critical for our next generation of network science thought leaders.  


By the end of the workshop, students will be familiar with new tools, techniques, methods, and theories, and will be able to identify common themes (and major differences) across applications and disciplines. Importantly, the exchange is expected go well beyond the technical aspects by opening dialogues about courses, advisor and qualifying criteria, fellowship and grant opportunities, and challenges of interdisciplinarity. In the end, we hope this meeting will help to empower these students to be more agile thinkers, both in how they define major scientific challenges and develop inventive solutions for real world problems.

Download .pdf agenda

Day 1: Monday, June 19

Two 3-hour tutorials Alessandro Vespignani and Alex Arenas.

Day 2: Tuesday, June 2

8:30-9:00am | Welcome & Introductions
Kate Coronges (Northeastern University)
Patricia Mabry (Indiana University)

 9:00am-10:00am |  Lightning Presentations I
Student participants will present their work in short, informal lighting talks of 2-3 minutes.

10:00am-10:30am |  Break

 10:30am-11:30am |  Lightning Presentations II

11:30am-1:00pm |  Lunch

1:00pm-3:00pm | “One Great Idea”
Network scientists from across disciplines will present “one great idea” that changed how they analyze data, write papers, approach research broadly, and more. The goal of this session is to help students build a toolkit of research strategies.

Peter Mucha (Univ North Carolina)
Laszlo Barabasi (Northeastern)
Brooke Foucault  Welles     (Northeastern)

3:00pm-3:30pm | Break

3:30pm-5:30pm |  SYNS: “One Great Network"
We will explore career paths and other outlets for which NS can be used to achieve broader societal impact outside of academic settings. We will reflect on the current state of the field, where we think the field will go in the next 10 years, and the role of young network scientists in shaping that future.

Hiroki Sayama, SUNY Binghamton
Kevin Chan, Army Research Laboratory
Stephen Uzzo, NY Hall of  Science
Catherine Cramer, NY Hall of  Science

5:30pm-6:00pm | 

6:00pm-7:30pm | Professional Development Panel
Panel discussion with five network scientists, each with unique career paths and research trajectories. This will be an informal dialogue, where students will ask questions and discuss their career choices, working with interdisciplinary teams, and anything else about how to do good science, and foster a productive and healthy research lab and broader collaborative community.

Alex  Vespignani (Northeastern Univ)
Danielle Bassett (Univ Penn)
Roberta Sinatra (Central European Univ)
Lise Getoor (UC Santa Cruz)
Vittoria Colizza (Inserm, French National Institute for Health and Medical Research)

8:00pm-10:00pm | Dinner and the Future of SYNS
We will meet for dinner and beverages to decompress after a long day and figure out how we move forward logistically as a group over the coming years. Location TBA.

June 20, 2017 NetSci Satellite - one-day


See here.


For the Social Event, see here {}

Mowafak Allaham
1st year, University of Illinois at Chicago
Main interests: social networks, emotion contagion, group dynamics
Mowafak Allaham received his BS in Computer Science in 2013 and his MA in Psychology from George Mason University in 2015 where he worked with Dr. Eva Wiese as a graduate research assistant at the Social Robotics Lab. Prior to joining the Empathy & Social Connection Lab as a PhD candidate, he worked with Dr. Bertram Malle and Dr. Joseph Austerweil at Brown University as a researcher to explore the cognitive representation of social norms. Currently, Mowafak is focusing on using different computational techniques drawn from graph theory and network science to understand the different properties of social networks from a psychological perspective.
Emorie Beck
1st year, Washington University at St. Louis
Main interests: personality psychology, development, dynamics, networks
Emorie D Beck (@EmorieBeck) is a Ph.D student in personality psychology at Washington University in St. Louis, where she just completed her first year. Emorie graduated from Brown University with honors in psychology in 2016. She studies the measurement and development of personality, both at the population and individual levels. She is interested in better understanding the mechanisms behind personality (e.g. patterns of affect, behaviors, and cognitions) that give rise to the stable patterns we call personality traits. Emorie is currently using network science to better understand temporal patterns in affect, behavior, and cognition across different people, times, and contexts. Moreover, she is interested in how we can use knowledge of such mechanisms to create interventions that allow people to volitionally change their personalities.
Nichol Castro
5th year, University of Kansas
Main interests: language networks, memory, psycholinguistics
I am currently a PhD candidate at the University of Kansas pursuing a Dual-title PhD in (Cognitive) Psychology and Gerontology with a Quantitative Minor. I received my MA in (Cognitive) Psychology in 2013 from the University of Kansas and my BA in Psychology with a Cognitive Science Minor in 2011 from the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs. I have an interdisciplinary background that includes psychology, gerontology, linguistics, neuroscience, philosophy, and speech-language pathology.
Larisa Doroshenko
5th year, University of Wisconsin Madison
Main interests: political communication, media effects, political behavior, online participation, social media, connective action, collective action, election campaigns, social movements, far-right parties, comparative analysis, computer-mediated content analysis, online experiments, survey studies, Ukraine, Twitter
My research interests focus on political communication, civic engagement, polarization, and public opinion. I am especially interested in democratic potential of new media and how the internet affects political participation. My dissertation projects explores digital mobilizing strategies of Ukrainian political parties during EuroMaidan revolution and following early elections, these parties’ digital networks, as well as effectiveness of these strategies among citizens with regards to both online and offline participation.
Esra Erdin
5th year, University of Nevada, Reno
Main interests: online social networks, privacy, decentralized OSN
Esra Erdin is a PhD candidate at Computer Science and Engineering Department at the University of Nevada, Reno. She received her BS degree in Computer Engineering from Middle East Technical University and her MS degree in Computer Science and Engineering from University of Nevada, Reno. Her area of research is in computer networks, with a focus on social networks, network measurements, design of decentralized online social networks, device-to-device communication, and anonymous communication networks. For her Ph.D. dissertation, she focuses on understanding of social network dynamics and development of phone-to-phone decentralized social networks to address privacy concerns.
Ryan Gallagher
1st year, Northeastern University
Main interests: social networks, core-periphery, topic models, natural language processing
I am a young graduate researcher who has made the laborious, yet rewarding, transition from theoretical mathematics to computational social science. This transition started at the University of Connecticut and continued at the University of Vermont, where I received a Master's degree in applied mathematics and complex systems. In Fall 2017, I will be joining Northeastern University's Network Science PhD program. Broadly, my research focuses on quantifying the stories that emerge from sociotechnical systems. More specifically, I work to intertwine techniques from network science and natural language processing in order to study the interplay between language and social interactions. In studying both what people are talking about and how that relates to their social network, I hope to draw deeper insights into topics such as hashtag activism, collective identity, and mental health.
Isha Ghosh
1st year, Rutgers University
Main interests: persuasive technology, privacy attitudes, social influence
I am a first-year doctoral student at the School of Communication and Information, Rutgers University with research interests in analyzing the influence of online social networks on an individuals’ information sharing habits. My work lies at the intersection of behavioral analytics and network science, I am very interested in studying the role of social influence on digital privacy attitudes and behaviors.
Diego Gómez-Zará
1st year, Northwestern University
Main interests: social networks, social movements, social media, leadership, data visualization
I'm interested in mathematical models that explain social behavior, communications, and networks. My goal is to set bridges between social sciences and computer science. I've been working on projects related to social movements, leadership, and journalism.
Syed Arefinul Haque
2nd year, Northeastern University
Main interests: epidemiology, human dynamics, trust
I am a second year PhD student in the Network Science PhD program at Northeastern University and working as a research assistant at the MOBS Lab. My research interest lies in the study of complex networks, human dynamics and computational social science.
Milán Janosov
1st year, Central European University
Main interests: success, career evolution, science, art, big data, mechanistic modelling
Being late from pub crawls with friends because of working on my science projects has been a great struggle to me since I have started visiting pubs. Starting with maths in high school, then physics and biophysics, after that complexity research and software development, I arrived to network science, data science and computational social science. I am always interested in new things focusing on the practical aspects. I also fancy quite different hobbies, like sculpting, going to the gym and constantly annoying my friends with my meal plans, or scuba diving.
Brennan Klein
2nd year, Northeastern University
Main interests: decision making, search, information
Brennan received his BA in Cognitive Science and Psychology from Swarthmore College in 2014, focusing on the relationship between perception, action, and cognition. Currently, in his work with Professor Chris Riedl, he is researching human decision making, complex problem solving, and group behavior. This primarily involves running online experiments with human participants, as well as simulations of human behavior through agent-based modeling.
Tim LaRock
1st year, Northeastern University
Main interests: science of science, brain networks, network sampling
I have previously studied information retrieval from Twitter,  mining of wireless frequency spectrum data, load balancing in cellular networks and measures of group centrality in large networks. Currently, I work on developing machine learning algorithms for growing incomplete networks through adaptive node probing. I am interested in mining network data broadly, particularly thinking about higher order structures in networks with applications to global shipping networks, networks in the science of science as well as network neuroscience. Outside of my academic research, I also have interest in philosophy, politics and literature.
Jennifer Lawlor
5th year, Michigan State University
Main interests: community coalitions, systems change efforts, education, social networks, simulation modeling
I'm a 5th year PhD student in Michigan State University's ecological-community psychology program. As a researcher, I'm interested in network structures in community coalitions and their implications for things like efficient communication among members as well as the relationship between a node's position in a coalition network and their experience of efficacy related to their goals for the network. I also work with the Michigan School Program Information Project, examining the role of social networks in the research to practice gap. As a person, I enjoy running, playing the ukulele, and baking.
Stefan McCabe
1st year, Northeastern University
Main interests: social media, social networks, agent-based modeling, status, communication
Stefan received a BA in Government and International Politics and an MA in Computational Social Science from George Mason University. His prior research includes work on agent-based economics and optimizing agent-based models in high-performance computing environments. His research interests include political communication, social media, the intersection of network science and agent-based modeling, and natural language processing.
Madhurima Nath
4th year, Virginia Tech
Main interests: network reliability, epidemic modeling, network structure
My research areas include applying physics models and using computational methods to solve empirical problems of complex networks. The computational complexity of analyzing dynamics on such complex systems scales with system size and therefore modeling them using simpler networks with similar behavior is relevant for the analysis. In addition, I have also been studying the effects of the network topology of realistic socio - technical systems; I study the dynamics of diffusive processes on networks such as propagation of diseases by investigating how reliable a graph is. Using this method, it is possible to approximate and characterize the reliability of a network.
Ravin Poudel
4th year, University of Florida
Main interests: microbial community, microbial network
I am currently a 4th year graduate student in the Department of Plant Pathology, Institute for Sustainable Food Systems, and Emerging Pathogens Institute, at the University of Florida. As a researcher, I am interested in understanding the communication and social network of microbes. I build and apply network models to better understand the roles on microbes, as a community, in determining the host performances such as in disease or healthy states.
Iacopo Pozzana
1st year, Birkbeck, University of London
Main interests: community detection, meta-heuristics, temporal evolution
I got my Masters in Physics from the University of Pisa, Italy, last September, after which I moved to London to start a PhD at Birkbeck Computer Science. During the Master I worked on a new model of temporal activity-driven network, with a focus on its impact on dynamical processes. Now my research focuses on improving community detection methods by using information regarding the temporal structure of the network, with a particular applicative focus on online social networks.
Ronald Robertson
1st year, Northeastern University
Main interests: algorithm auditing, attitude and behavior change, persuasive technology, communication networks
I conduct research on how modern information and communication technologies can induce attitude and behavior change by leveraging our psychological heuristics and vulnerabilities. When I'm not conducting research I like surfing, crashing motorcycles, and playing guitar.
Alice Schwarze
3rd year, Oxford University
Main interests: network robustness, sampling, systems biology, systems pharmacology
I am a PhD student at the Mathematical Institute at Oxford University and the Oxford University Doctoral Training Centre for Systems Approaches to Biomedical Science. This year, I am also a visiting graduate researcher at UCLA.  My work focuses on the structural robustness of protein-interaction networks. I am passionate about maths, natural sciences, travelling, and my ukulele.
Sarah Shugars
2nd year, Northeastern University
Main interests: civil society, dialogue, deliberation
Sarah received her BA in Physics from Clark University, where she graduated Cum Laude in 2004. She received her MA in Integrated Marketing Communications from  Emerson College in 2009, and participated in Tisch College's Summer Institute of Civic Studies in 2013. An active member of the Somerville, MA community, Sarah serves as clerk of The Welcome Project board and on the board of the OPENAIR Circus. Sarah is interested in applying network science to questions of civil society and political deliberation.
Cynthia Siew
5th year, University of Kansas
Main interests: speech perception, spoken word recognition, visual word recognition, lexical processing, word learning, language acquisition, language evolution
I use behavioral and computational methods to investigate the cognitive processes and mechanisms that support lexical processing. In particular I apply the suite of tools offered by network science to study the structure of the mental lexicon and see how that affects the way we produce speech, understand language and learn new words. I am also interested in applying network science approaches to understand other areas of the psychological and cognitive sciences.
Kyosuke Tanaka
2nd year, Northwestern University
Main interests: network perceptions, network search, network activation, social capital, small-world phenomenon
My research interests lie in network thinking and cognition. I'm interested in understanding how individuals perceive, search and use their surrounded connections and connections of connections. To examine the research question, I use network experiments, agent-based modeling, and statistical analysis.
Leo Torres
1st year, Northeastern University
Main interests: graph mining, math, neuroscience
Leo is interested in the intersection of Network Science, Complexity Science, and Neuroscience. By using different approaches from Computer Science, like graph mining and machine learning, he is trying to uncover the underlying principles governing the interplay between structure and function of dynamical networks. Leo has a B.S in Mathematics from a top-rated Peruvian Mathematics department, and is a self-taught programmer, having attended the Recurse Center, a programmers retreat in NYC, to focus on algorithm design and high-quality code writing standards.
Xindi Wang
2nd year, Northeastern University
Main interests: success, book networks, data mining
I am a person likes a lot of things, especially music and books. My background was in Electronic Engineering and Computer Science. As a researcher, I'm mostly interested in the pattern behind success. My work focuses on data mining and analysis as well as modeling.
Sara Williams
2nd year, Northeastern University
Main interests: ecological networks, coral reefs, eco-physiology, mutualism
Sara is a PhD student and NSF Graduate Research Fellow in the Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology degree program. She earned her B.S. in physics with honors from the College of William and Mary in 2014. Sara's dissertation research involves using network science to study coral reefs. She is working on modeling how the coral-symbiont mutualism network responds to increasing temperatures due to global climate change.
Chia-Hung Yang
1st year, Northeastern University
Main interests: food webs, dynamics, complex systems, Laplace distribution
I obtained my bachelor's degree in physics at National Tsing Hua University, Taiwan and am currently a PhD student of Network Science at Northeastern University. I am interested in the dynamical behavior of complex systems and what are the underlying mechanisms. The ultimate goal is to "engineer" those complex systems for purposes based on our theoretical understandings. Among various subjects in complex systems, ecosystems remain mysterious despite its early debut, and the inherent networks specifying interactions between species caught my attention. I study how food web structures form from a general natural selection perspective and whether they coincide with popular models. I also work on a project exploring the genetic mechanism of wide-observed Laplace-distributed growth rates in reality.
Yian Yin
1st year, Northwestern University
Main interests: computational social science, complex systems, science of science
I am a first-year PhD student of Industrial Engineering & Management Sciences (IEMS) at McCormick School of Engineering, Northwestern University, with affiliations at Northwestern Institute on Complex Systems (NICO). My research interest lies in the boundary of data mining, complex systems and computational social science, with a focus on understanding successes and failures in individual career from large-scale datasets. I am also interested in applying network science models to understand the temporal evolution of science and technology.

A social event will be scheduled in the evening that will be open to all graduate students and young scholars.

The implementation of this symposium is built on a partnership between Northeastern University and Indiana University.  Over the last few years, both Universities have invested significantly into Network Science, resulting in one of the first PhD minor (since 2014, at IU), and the first U.S. based PhD program (at NU since 2013) in Network Science. We hope to extend this PhD Student community to many other Universities across the globe.


Kate Coronges, Northeastern University 
Patricia Mabry, Indiana University 
Evangelia (Evelyn) Panagakou, Northeastern University
Brooke Foucault Welles, Northeastern University

Student Organizers 

Brennan Klein, Northeastern University
Sarah Shugars, Northeastern University 
Leonardo Torres, Northeastern University

Kate Coronges, Northeastern University

Dr. Coronges is the Executive Director of the Network Science Institute at Northeastern University.  In this position, she provides administrative leadership to the institute by contributing to long-term strategic planning and vision for its role in the larger scientific community. She joined the Institute in April 2015. Before that, she worked for the US Army for over six years as Assistant Professor in the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Leadership at the US Military Academy, and more recently as a Program Manager in the Information Science Directorate at the Army Research Office. She received her PhD in health behavior from the University of Southern California in 2009. Coronges was the Managing Editor for Connections journal, International Network of Social Network Analysis for a decade. Her research has focused on social structures and dynamics of teams and communities and their impacts on communication patterns, behaviors and performance.

Patricia Mabry, Indiana University

Dr. Mabry is the Executive Director of the Indiana University Network Science Institute (IUNI) and is a Senior Research Scientist in the IU-Bloomington School of Public Health. Through interdisciplinary collaboration, educational offerings, methodological innovation, theoretical development, and provision of supercomputing and IT resources, IUNI nurtures 21st century network science among over 150 affiliated IU faculty. Prior to joining IU in October of 2015, Dr. Mabry had a 15-year career at the National Institutes of Health serving in the National Cancer Institute’s Tobacco Control Research Branch, the Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR) and the Office of Disease Prevention (ODP). At NIH Dr. Mabry established and led a systems science program in the behavioral and social sciences and served on the Big Data to Knowledge (BD2K) Executive Committee. She also led ODP’s portfolio analysis tool development team. Her expertise spans obesity, tobacco control, diabetes, mood disorders, systems science, scientific rigor, and big data. Her work has been published in Science, the American Journal of Public Health, the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, Nicotine & Tobacco Research, and PLoS Computational Biology. Dr. Mabry is a Fellow of the Society of Behavioral Medicine and was a 2008 recipient the Applied Systems Thinking Prize. Dr. Mabry holds a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of Virginia.

Evangelia (Evelyn) Panagakou, Northeastern University

Evelyn is a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the MOBS (Modeling of Biological and Socio-technical Systems) Laboratory of the Network Science Institute at Northeastern University. Previously she was a Postdoctoral Researcher in the Nonlinear Dynamics Group at Brandeis University. She received her PhD in Physics from the University of Athens in collaboration with the National Center for Scientific Research "Demokritos" in Greece, her MS in Applied Mathematics from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, and her BS in Physics from the University of Athens in Greece. She has been one of the founders of the Young Researchers Network on Complex Systems and the Chair of its Advisory Board from Oct 2013 to Oct 2015. She has co-organized many satellites, workshops and schools on Complex Systems and is greatly interested in the education of complex systems and network science.

Brooke Foucault Welles, Northeastern University

Dr. Foucault Welles is an Assistant Professor of Communication Studies and core faculty member of the Network Science Institute at Northeastern University. Combining the methods of network science with theories from the social sciences, Foucault Welles studies how online communication networks enable and constrain behavior, with particular emphasis on how these networks facilitate the pursuit of individual, team, and collective goals. Much of her work is interdisciplinary and collaborative, with co-authors from computer science, political science, digital humanities, design, and public health. Her recent contributions include a series of studies of the transformative power of networked counterpublicstechniques for the longitudinal analysis of communication networks using event-based network analysis, and guidelines for the effective use of network visualizations in scientific and lay publications. Her work is funded by grants from the US Army Research Office and US Army Research Lab, and has been featured in leading social science journals such as the Journal of CommunicationInformation, Communication and Societyand The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science. She serves on the editorial board of the journal Web Science and was part of the team that developed the Network Literacy Essential Concepts and Core Ideas. Dr. Foucault Welles holds a Ph.D. in Communication from Northwestern University. 

Brennan Klein, Northeastern University

Brennan is a 2nd year PhD student in Network Science at Northeastern University. He received his BA in Cognitive Science and Psychology from Swarthmore College in 2014, focusing on the relationship between perception, action, and cognition. Currently, in his work with Professor Chris Riedl, he studies human decision making, complex problem solving, and group behavior. This primarily involves running online experiments with human participants, as well as simulations of collective human behavior using agent-based modeling. Brennan likes to draw. | @jkbren

Sarah Shugars, Northeastern University

Sarah received her BA in Physics from Clark University, where she graduated Cum Laude in 2004. She received her MA in Integrated Marketing Communications from  Emerson College in 2009, and participated in Tisch College's Summer Institute of Civic Studies in 2013. An active member of the Somerville, MA community, Sarah serves as clerk of The Welcome Project board and on the board of the OPENAIR Circus. Sarah is interested in applying network science to questions of civil society and political deliberation. | @shugars

 Leonardo Torres, Northeastern University

Leo is interested in the intersection of Network Science, Complexity Science, and Neuroscience. By using different approaches from Computer Science, like graph mining and machine learning, he is trying to uncover the underlying principles governing the interplay between structure and function of dynamical networks. Leo has a B.S in Mathematics from a top-rated Peruvian Mathematics department, and is a self-taught programmer, having attended the Recurse Center, a programmer retreat in NYC, to focus on algorithm design and high-quality code writing standards. | @leorrot

We are no longer accepting applications.

We welcome applications from PhD students from any department who are interested in applying network science based tools, theories, and methodologies. We anticipate enough funding to admit 20 applicants, with scholarships that will cover the costs of the workshop attendance, lodging, and reduced registration fee at the NetSci2017 Conference.

The deadline to apply is March 15, 2017.

Participant Selection

Participant selection will be based on the quality of the student’s application and the overall relevance of their research interests. We are not looking for a specific “type” of applicant-- instead we are looking for applicants who have diverse interests, who are from many disciplinary backgrounds, and who have unique sets of skills. In addition, we will evaluate how well-aligned the goals of the symposium are to the student’s interests and research trajectories. Our hope is to facilitate the creation of a cohesive and complementary graduate student community.


We invite you to join us with an open mind to learn from and teach your future peers various concepts, coding skills, and tools.  We are hoping to have a teach-and-learn session where attendees share skills for ~20 minutes with one another. In addition, we will ask participants to present 5-minute lightning talks on their current research interests. For students with more developed research trajectories, we anticipate being able to offer space at a poster session (please indicate on your application if this applies to you).

There are NetSci2017 student scholarship awards available (learn more here).

2017 Symposium application

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