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The act or process of calculating or determining something by mathematical logical or interactive methods
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Measures what can or cannot be computed (determined by mathematical logical or interactive methods)
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The study of natural and artificial information and processes
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Molecular-scale computing, nanites and nanobots
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DNA Computing
Using strands of DNA to perform computations that would take too long by conventional computers
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Artificial Intelligence
Understanding intelligence, robotics, vision, natural language processing, speech
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Nature inspired computing
Emergent complex behaviour generated from simpler interactions between autonomous agents, cellular automata, fractals
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Quantum computing
Using the quantum states of atoms to perform computations and solve problems that would take too long by a conventional computer
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A description independent of programming language of a process that achieves a task. A step by step procedure to solving a problem
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Without guessing a solution before confirming it
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A description in a programming language of a process that achieves some useful results
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What is the right level for thinking about a particular problem, how to communicate complex ideas simply and how to decompose problems logically
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How to automate an algorithm
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An initial situation
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A desired outcome
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Things that can be used to reach a goal and impose contraints
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Something preventing you from solving a problem in a particular way
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Defining boundaries
Establishing the limits or rules about what can and cannot be done when solving a problem (type of constraint)
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Lateral thinking
Used to challenge assumptions, establish facts and rules and define boundaries of problem solving
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Top-down design
Breaks a problem into smaller problems that are easier to work on
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A self contained entity that results when a problem is divided into subproblems; each module corresponds to a subproblem
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Stepwise refinement
The process of breaking a problem down through succesive steps into smaller problems
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Structure table
an indented numbered list of steps produced by stepwise refinement
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Finite state machine
A machine that consists of a fixed set of possible states with a set of allowable inputs that change the state and a set of possible outputs
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State transition diagram
A way of describing an FSM graphically. Each state is represented by a circle and each transition by an arrow labelled with the input that causes the transition plus any output resulting from the transition
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State transition table
Shows the effect on the current state of an FSM of particular inputs and any corresponding output
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Decision table
A tebles that shows the outcome for a given logical condition
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Consecutive steps or groups of steps processed one after another in the order that they arise
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A decision making step
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Repetition of iteration
A step or sequence of steps that are repeated until some condition is satisfied or WHILE some condition is satisfied
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An operation that assigns a value to a variable
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Structured English
A very restricted subset of the English language
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Code that resembles a programming language but that uses less strict syntax to express an algorithm and is independent of any real programming language
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Hand trace, desk check or dry run
A careful step by step simulation on paper of how an algorithm would be executed by a computer
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High level programming language
A language that has English like keywords and commands to express the basic constructs of sequence selection (decision) and repetition (iteration)
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A high-level programming language designed to teach students structured programming
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Visual Basic 2005
A high-level programming language that took the language Basic and redefined it to work with Microsoft's.Net framework
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A high level programming language based on C++ and Pascal developed specifically for Microsoft's.Net framework
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A location in memory that contains one or more data values
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A unique name given to a variable, a procedure, a function, etc.
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Integer division
Returns only the whole number part of the division
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A program that translates source code into executable object code
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Console application
A program that runs in a text based window into which the user types and which displays text output from the computer
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Global variable
A variable declared at the beginning of a program and accessible from anywhere in the program
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Local variable
A variable declared in a program bloakc and accessible only within the program bloack
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A value that does not change throughout the program eg. Pi
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A whole number
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Real number
A number with a decimal point and a fractional part
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A sequence of zero or more characters
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Any letter, numeral or symbol in the given character set such as the ASCII character set
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Boolean data
Can be one of two possible values, True or False
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A data structure that groups a number of variables
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A variable that is part of a record
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Enumerated type
An ordered set of values
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Ordinal type
Defines an ordered set of values such as integer, character, Boolean and enumerated types; real numbers are not ordinal type
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A collection of values of the same ordinal type with no associated order
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Boolean expression
Returns True or False
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Boolean operators
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A routine that is called as part of an expression and returns a value
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A routine that may or may not return a value; a procedure call is a statement in its own right, not part of an expression
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Routine interface
The part of the routine that lists the parameters used to pass data into and out of the routine
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Callling by reference
The variable insiode the routine uses a reference to the same memory location. The reference is the variable passed as a parameter
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Calling by value
The value of the calling code's variable is copied to the routine's parameter
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Parameters in routines
Placeholders for variables supplied at call time
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An ordered set of data values of the same data type, grouped together and referred to by a single identifier (type of list)
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Text file
A sequence of printable characters, organised line by line; it can be opened and read in a text editor
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CSV file
Comma separated values file; a text file with one record per line and the fields of each record separated by commas
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Binary file
Contains mostly unprintable characters
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Linear search
Searching for something in a list by scanning each element of the list in a sequential manner
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Bubble sort
Sorting elements in a one dimensional array by looking at pairs of elements at a time and switching them accordingly. Several passes may be needed to sort them entirely
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Compilation error
When a program does not compile because of syntax errors or lexical errors
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Run time error
When the program crashes or gets stuck in a loop
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Logic error
When the programmer has made a mistake and the program output is incorrect
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Validation check
A check made by a program to see that the data entered is reasonable
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Robust system
A system that is unlikely to malfunction
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Dry-run testing
Programmer follows through code manually without a computer using test data to check the algorithm or program code is correct
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Black box testing
Carried out without looking at the program code. Carefully selected test data is used and expected results are compared to actual results
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White box testing
Tests are devised to check each possible path through the program code
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Range check
Checking the value entered is within a certain range
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Format checks
To check whether a character is correctly either a lower case letter, upper case leter or number
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Length checks
Checking whether length of a string is acceptable
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Lookup checks
If the user is expected to enter a value that would already be stored in a certain database the program could lookup the value e.g. postcode entered to find the address of the user
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Check digits
Digit calculated from other digits to ensure no errors are made whilst transmitting the data
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Presence check
To ensure the user has entered a value where one is required
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Normal data
Data within the boundaries set in a program
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Boundary data
Where data above or below the value in treated differently e.g. orders above £100 get free delivery but is it true for exactly £100 or £100.01 or £101?
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Erroneous data
Data that cannot be processed e.g. an empty string, error message should be correctly set up to deal with these values
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Test plan
A list of planned tests with their data or referring to a set of test data
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Evidence of testing
Something that shows the data entered and the result from the program e.g. a screenshot
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A number system that uses two digits, 0 and 1
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A binary digit, it can be 0 or 1
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A group of 4 bits
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A group of 8 bits
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A group of bytes
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Denary number system
A number system that uses the digits 0 to 9
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Two's compliment
A system for representing negative numbers
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Hexidecimal number sysem
A number system that uses the digits 0 to 9 and the letters A to F
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ASCII (American standard code for Information Interchange)
7 bit code used to store text in a computer memory e.g. character A is coded 65: 1000001. Sometimes uses eigth bit
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16 bit code used to represent characters to store in a computer. Uses unique number for every character. The extended ASCII codes are incorporated into Unicode representations
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Single parity bit
Uses either even or odd parity bit to check whether code is correct
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Majority vote
Increase chances data reaches destination correctly by sending each bit 3 times and use majority vote to check what the bit is, error correction rather than just error detection
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Hamming code
Code used to detect and correct code errors using parity bits
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Gray code (Binary reflected Gray code- BRGC)
Code used to minimise errors, only one bit changed at a time between numbers
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The smallest addressable area or smallest solid block of colour in an image
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Created when the pixels of an image are mapped to positions in memory that store binary codes representing the colour of each pixel
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Resolution of a VDU screen
A quantity expressed as the number of pixels per row by the number of pixels per column on a screen
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Resolution of an image
A quantity expressed as the number of dots/ pixels per inch or centimetre
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Colour depth
The number of bits used to represent the colour of a single pixel in a bitmapped image
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1 bit colour
Monochrome image. One bit allocated to each pixel, can either be black or white, 0 is white, 1 is black
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12-bit direct colour
12 bits are allocated to each pixel, 4 for each of the R, G and B components enabling 4096 differeent colours (16x16x16)
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True colour
24 bits are allocated to each pixel, 8 for each of the R, G and B components enabling the use of 16,777,216 different colours (256x256x256). Approaches the level at which the human eye can distinguish between colours in the real world
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32 bit colour
Really true colour. Used because modern PCs have a word size of 32 bits or 64 bits. Extra 8 bits used for alpha channel (transparency) or ignored
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Vector graphic
Records geometric and other information about the objects that make up an image
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A component of a vector graphic, such as a line, a rectangle or a circle
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Drawing list
The list of drawing commands that recreate a vector graphic
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Of a vector graphic object, describes things such as size, direction, thickness, shading, font size or typeface
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Data compression
Squeezes data into a smaller number of bytes than the data would occupy in uncompressed
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Run length encoding (RLE) (Lossless)
If a line of pixels all have the same colour they cann all be stored as two bytes, the first stating how many memory cells are included, the second holding the colour. Used by PCX, JPEG, and GIF image formats use RLE PNG does not.
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Lossy compression
Compression method that discards least important information e.g. background quality is saved with reduced resolution. Image is different from original but close enough to it to still be useful
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Analogue data
Data that varies in a continuous manner
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Digital data
Data that takes the form of discrete values
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Analogue signal
An electrical signal that varies in a continuous manner
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Digital signal
An electrical signal with voltage changes that are abrupt or in discrete steps
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Analogue-to-digital converter; converts an analogue signal into an equivalent digital signal
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Digital to analogue converter; converts a digital signalinto an equivalnt analogue signal
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Pulse code modulation; a process for coding sampled analogue signals by recording the height or each sample in a binary electrical equivalent
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Pulse amplitude modulation; a process that samples analogue signals at regular time intervals and produces electrical pulses of height proportional to the original signals amplitude at the instant of sampling
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Quantisation noise
The difference between the original amplitude and it's sampled value
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Nyquist's theorem
Sample at a frequency at least twice the rate of the highest frequency in the sampled signal
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Musical Information Digital Interface; a way of representing the sound amde by an instrument
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Synthesise sound
Use digital means to generate audio signals resembling instrument sounds or the human voice
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A whole composed of parts in orderly arrangement
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Systems analysis
The study of a complex process in order to improve its efficiency
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Manual system
A system that does not involve computers
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System life cycle
-> Analysis -> Design -> Implementation -> Testing -> Evaluation ->
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System life cycle: Analysis
What needs to be done to change the current system? Is it outdated? Does it use a manual system where it could be using computers. Interview current system operators and people involved. Observe system working practices. Carry out questionairres etc.
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System life cycle: Design
System needs to be designed acccording to analysis needs. Design needs to be detailed to allow specialists to produce exactly what needed
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System life cycle: Implementation
Coding and testing software. Installing hardware and software. Preparing data files. Training users. Writing system documentation
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System life cycle: Testing
When parts are put together and the software has been installed, the whole system needs to be tested before it goes live.
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System life cycle: Evaluation
Reflecting on how successful system is after it has become fully operational. Does it meet original system requirements and objectives? System may need to be updated again a few times, the cycle continues
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Requirements specification
A set of system objectives
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Software maintenance
Updating a program to correct faults or failures
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Other cards in this set

Card 2


Measures what can or cannot be computed (determined by mathematical logical or interactive methods)



Card 3


The study of natural and artificial information and processes


Preview of the back of card 3

Card 4


Molecular-scale computing, nanites and nanobots


Preview of the back of card 4

Card 5


Using strands of DNA to perform computations that would take too long by conventional computers


Preview of the back of card 5
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