The magazine on the FrankfurtRhineMain metropolitan region ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE Why Darmstadt leads the way FASHION How Frankfurt looks forward to the Fashion Week LIFESTYLE How FRM is fast becoming an organic farming hub DESTI- NATIONS Where FRM resembles key international places FUTURE What an Offenbach forecaster predicts LOCALS Who is the talk of the town in FRM CORONA Why FRM plays a central role in combatting the pandemic ISSUE 2020 > E n g l E d i i s h i o n t Times of change The latest trends in FrankfurtRhineMain
// Editorial NOT EVERYTHING WILL BE THE WAY IT WAS REGARD CORONA AS A GAMECHANGER Covid-19 has not spared FrankfurtRhineMain either, so it is all the more gratifying that the re- gion with its unique network has been actively helping combat the pandemic. From vaccine developers and the Paul Ehrlich Institute in Langen, which admits vaccines to trials and then approves them, through to major pharma corporations – almost all of them are based in FrankfurtRhineMain. That said, even once we have a vaccine against Covid-19, not everything will be the way it was. We will therefore need to think carefully about how we wish to live and work together going for- wards – and that includes against the backdrop of climate change. Some trends are already emerging. As regards travel and nutrition, we are already seeing a shift back to nature. People are once again discovering their immediate surroundings and are more conscious of what they spend money on. In this regard, too, our region offers an ideal setting, with its parks, recreational areas, and organic farms in the Rheingau, Taunus, Spessart and Odenwald. I was delighted in these difficult times to be able to announce that the Fashion Week is relocating to Frankfurt. The event will add another aspect to the metropolis on the Main – and may in fact give it a new image entirely, since local creatives will be proudly presen- ting its abilities when next year we welcome over 2,000 designers and brands and more than 40,000 trade visitors to Frankfurt. Discover for yourself all the things FrankfurtRhineMain has to of- fer. You’ll find all the themes in this issue. Or even better: Visit the region and see for yourself! Futurologist Matthias Horx, who has lived and worked in FrankfurtRhineMain for many years now, predicted as early as March 2020 that we would be surprised at how swiftly digital change would occur and the enforced physical distancing would result in a new form of nearness. We at FrankfurtRheinMain GmbH – International Marketing of the Re- gion, have also witnessed and experienced this, because for us interna- tional decision-makers were suddenly easier to reach thanks to remote working. Based on this experience, we resolved to regard Covid-19 as a game- changer and to cast a glance at what is and what lies ahead of us. Frank- furtRhineMain possesses not only a unique network for combatting the corona pandemic, but also the perfect preconditions for the pen- ding round of digitization. In Darmstadt, a national champion in AI is swiftly evolving. At the Darmstadt Technical University, leading minds are working together in a unique ecosystem to ensure that even better use is made of the technological opportunities for human society. Professor Kristian Ker- sting, who last year was the first person to be awarded the German AI Prize, is pursuing the vision of computers that can learn as quickly and as flexibly as humans without us needing to fear them. Nevertheless, for all the progress at the moment we wish for nothing more dearly than the “new normal”, meaning being able to meet and greet people in person again – and maybe even to be able to touch them. That is why we have dedicated this issue to those who are busy working toward that goal. Enjoy reading! Most cordially Your Best regards, Peter Feldmann Mayor of Frankfurt am Main Eric Menges President and CEO of FrankfurtRheinMain GmbH International Marketing of the Region PARTNERS OF THIS GOLD SILBER BRONZE ISSUE OF FRM UNTERSTÜTZER
FRANKFURT GATEWAY TO EUROPE As a full subsidiary of Frankfurt’s city government, we are a facilitator between business and politics and ensure that your needs are heard by the political bodies. We strive to facilitate further (economic) growth and gene- rate jobs opportunities by actively providing advice to companies and by following cluster-based economic development strategies. Also, we make recommendations on economic policies and location-related activities, so as to safeguard Frankfurt’s future as a competitive business location. frankfurt-business.net 5,8MILLION Heart of the metropolitan region with a population of 5.8 million people living in Frankfurt Rhine-Main 340 national and international financial institutions and European economic center with important institutions (ECB, EIOPA, ESRB) 70MILLION AIRLINE PASSENGERS Largest airport and traffic hub in Germany (*in 2019) 9TB Largest internet hub in the world with data throughput of more than 9 terabytes per second
// Locals THE CORONA COMMUNICATOR What makes chemist and presenter Mai Thi Nguyen-Kim so unique. > Mai Thi Nguyen-Kim is a veritable phenomenon. Like few other people she manages to explain the most complex scientiﬁc facts in a playful, simple manner, and even makes it sound fun. What’s more via YouTube she also reaches younger people who tended to see chemistry or physics as a reason for skipping lessons. e proof: Her Covid-19 video “Corona is just getting started” from early April clocked up 6.3 million views – and in many of the comments viewers asked for an up- date. e woman from Heppenheim with a doctorate in chemistry is very much in demand. She hosts TV programs (“Quarks”), writes books (“Komisch, alles chemisch!”) and since June 2020 has been a mem- ber of the Senate of the renowned Max-Planck-Gesellschaft. She has received many prizes for her work, most recently in 2020 she was one of the recipients of the German Television Award, before that the Grimme Online Award, and was voted “Science Journalist of the Year”. An example: She once explained the subject of her doctoral thesis “Physical Hydrogels Based on Polyurethanes” to the magazine buecher- menschen.de as follows: “Imagine for a moment that you need a new liver. And you don’t want to have to wait for one to be donated, but if it were possible to take a small tissue sample with stem cells from your skin and grow a liver from these cells – your liver, if you will. at is the future vision of tissue enginee- ring – manufacturing artiﬁcial organs. Well organs are made up mainly of cells, but a handful of cells does not make an organ. And this is where chemists come in! ey can build three-dimensional frame- works for these cells on which they can grow really well. I developed such frameworks in my doctoral project.” Get it? \\ Corona for beginners: Mai Thi Nguyen-Kim explains it on YouTube 08 09 F R M 0 1 I 2 0
m u h c o B , m u r t n e z t e k a P L H D s d n e i r F & z o h c S l BEHIND IT YOU’LL ALWAYS FIND A CLEVER MIND. Frank Appel, CEO Deutsche Post AG www.faz.net/appel
// Technology ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE CAN BE HELPFUL ANYWHERE Professor Kristian Kersting of TU Darmstadt was the ﬁrst ever winner of the German AI Award. He knows what artiﬁcial intelligence is good for. BY MARTIN ORTH (INTERVIEW) AND JONAS RATERMANN (PHOTOS) winner of the German AI Award. Were you surprised? > Professor Kersting, last year you became the ﬁrst ever Most deﬁnitely! At the time I was still commuting between Bonn and Darmstadt and was pretty blown away on the day I got the call from Chris Boos. He is considered a pioneer of AI and was the chair- man of the jury; I’d actually met him briefly once. He asked me if I was aware of the award. I said I had heard of it and asked who had won it. He said: “Well, you!” I could hardly believe my ears. What was the award for? Here, we are pursuing a vision. We are working on making AI sys- tems more similar to human beings. Humans are easily able to ge- neralize with just a few examples, for example to distinguish bet- ween dogs and cats, so machine learning also has to be achieved with limited data. That’s part of what we call the third wave of AI. You head up the Artiﬁcial Intelligence and Machine Learning Lab at the TU Darmstadt. What exactly do you do there? Machine learning is all about developing computer programs that imitate learning is one way or another. To do so, we write algo- 20 21 F R M 0 1 I 2 0 rithms. You can imagine it like a recipe for a dish. We describe step by step what the computer needs to do to learn from its own expe- riences or those of others. On your website it says that you want to reach the point where computers can learn as fast and ﬂexibly as humans. How close are you to that goal? May people imagine an artificial human being, but we are miles or even centuries away from that. At the moment we’re talking about specific isolated skills. Take the chess computer or Computer Go, for example. If I were to say to one of them: ‘Bake me a pizza’, then I wouldn’t get anything out of it. Nevertheless, we are slowly starting to combine individual isolated skills with one another. What deﬁnes the strength of Darmstadt? Darmstadt invested in AI early on. In the meantime, there have been almost a dozen professors and a notable exchange with the cognitive sciences, the twin discipline of AI. The co- gnitive sciences use information-theory approaches to descri- be the behavior of human beings and thus to understand them.
// Technology Prof. Dr. Kristian Kersting Born in 1973, Kristian Kersting stu- died and gained a PhD at the Univer- sity of Freiburg in Artiﬁcial Intelli- gence. In 2006, he received the pri- ze for the best doctoral thesis in the area of artiﬁcial intelligence in Euro- pe. After appointments at the Mas- sachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, the Fraunhofer Insti- tute for Intelligent Analysis and In- formation Systems in Sankt Augus- tin, the University of Bonn and the TU Dortmund, in 2017 he received an offer from the TU Darmstadt that he “couldn’t refuse”. In Darmstadt, Kristian Kersting is Professor of Ar- tiﬁcial Intelligence and Machine Learning. Since the end of August 2020 he has headed up the Hessen Center for Artiﬁcial Intelligence in Darmstadt together with Prof. Dr.- Ing. Mira Mezini. They attempt, so to speak, to find algorithms in people. For us, the back and forth between human and machine behavior is very interesting. How is Darmstadt positioned nationally and internationally? In the respective rankings, we consistently occupy top positions within Germany and Europe. Can Germany keep pace then with the US techies or the high level of AI acceptance in China? The AI index was published recently, and here Germany is in fifth place, which is a good result. Many international firms, too, employ European and German AI researchers, or scientists who have studied in Germany. We therefore have a huge amount of influence in this field. We just need to try to keep these crea- tive individuals in the country or to bring them back here. What framework conditions do you see being necessary for this? We need a better ecosystem. On a European level, it might be worth building a kind of CERN (European Nuclear Research Cen- tre) for AI. AI centers would not only be important for scientists, but also for businesses who don’t want to purchase their own computing power right away for solving certain problems. At phy- sical locations with enough computing power, companies could rent capacity and exchange information on site, including with researchers. That could give rise to a certain momentum. Where do you see the greatest potential for AI? There is no sector in which AI does not or will not play a role. AI is used in fields as different as precision medicine and agriculture alike. Here, for example, research is being carried out into how the global food supply can be ensured despite ever-dwindling areas for cultivation and the increasing population. AI is a cross-discip- linary technology that can help in any area. Can artiﬁcial intelligence help us to manage the Corona pande- mic too? Any number of applications are conceivable and in the pipeline. From vaccine development to the chatbot on a hotline: It is al- ways better to get a poor answer than no answer, after all. 22 23 F R M 0 1 I 2 0
Continental, Porsche, the ESA and many others have expressed their interest in working with the re- cently founded Hessian Center for Artiﬁcial Intelligence. // For example? We have just launched an AI lighthouse project with the Uni- versity of Freiburg, the DFKI and other partners, which is being sponsored by BMWI. The focus here is on resilient industrial production and supply chains that can continue to perform even in times of crisis and which are able to make their own suggestions for optimization independently based on the evalu- ation of external and internal data. You have been expressly praised for carrying out research that is very relevant to practice. Can you give us an example? The first generation of Siri, Apple’s voice recognition software, was based on our technologies, at least according to unofficial sources. Having achieved such success, have you have thought about be- coming independent? I’ve thought about it, and I’ve had a few other nice ideas, but first I want to make progress with the projects and the Hessian Center for Artificial Intelligence. Not everyone gets excited about artiﬁcial intelligence; some peo- ple are scared of it. I can reassure them there’s no need to be. Some people have the idea that AI systems are already human-like or even better than humans, but we’re still an eternity away from that – if it even ever happens. So there’s no need for ethical debate? The discussion can and should be had, but it should emphasize the potential of AI. We should be delighted about what technology enables us to do and we should consider, for example, the way that the much-discussed facial recognition is able to help the Federal Criminal Police Office or Interpol in cases of child pornography. \\ Does your institute collaborate with industrial partners? Yes, of course. The German Stock Exchange recently called us about trading. We also have a cooperation laboratory with the construc- tion group Hochtief, which looks into “AI in Construction”. Conti- nental, Porsche, the ESA and many others have expressed their in- terest in working with the recently founded Hessian Center for Ar- tificial Intelligence, which bundles the AI research from 13 higher education institutions in the region. The main location is at the TU Darmstadt, and I’m delighted to be able to manage it together with Mira Mezini. But don’t forget about the public projects, either.
// Lifestyle ORGANIC FARMING THRIVES IN FRM FrankfurtRhineMain is fast becoming an organic produce hub – and everyone’s getting involved. A trip to places where the world is still grand. BY ROBERT MAUS (TEXT) AND JONAS RATERMANN (PHOTOS) 26 27 F R M 0 1 I 2 0 F
// Lifestyle > The young girls are truly enthusiastic. They repeatedly push hay into the hungry mouths of the cows, while their parents casually wander around the expansive and airy stables. Once a month the family visits Domäne Mechtildshausen in Wiesbaden’s Erbenheim district in order to buy regionally produced organic food there. And the parents always seize the opportunity to show their children how animals can be kept under conditions that are optimal for their welfare. Domäne Mechtildshausen is one of the very ﬁrst organic farms. The estate is mentioned in deeds going back to the Middle Ages, and since opening in 1987 the enterprise has long since emerged as an exemplary farm for regional products in FrankfurtRhineMain, as Managing Director Werner Backes explains. “All our products are certified by Bioland,” he says, adding: “We breed dairy cows and beef cattle, which are slaughtered in our own abattoir. The meat is sold in our butcher’s store and with the milk we produce yoghurt, curd, cream and butter – or we sell it here as fresh milk.” In the farm building with its attractive inner courtyard there’s also a bakery and a large market hall in which homegrown food is stacked up alongside organic pro- ducts from other regions, too. Almost 80 different types of fruit and vegetables are grown on the estate, chickens lay free-range eggs, and pigs are reared. There are also geese, goats, horses and donkeys on the estate, because, according to Backes, they are “highly popular” with the kids. “Next year, we’re going to set up a kind of animal experience-world,” he announces. That’s certainly not his only project. According to Backes, the estate could be- come a center for direct sellers from the entire region provided they offer certified organic food. “We’re in talks with other farmers,” Backes says and is very optimi- stic, because today there are so many producers of organic products in the region that it’s hard to get a detailed handle on them all. And he doesn’t think there’ll be a problem with finding buyers. Customers flock from all around and are happy to pay higher prices for the products. Backes knows this to be the case as he regularly monitors the license plates on the cars parked in front of the building. 28 29 F R M 0 1 I 2 0
The long-standing Domäne Mechtildshausen near Erbenheim, Wiesbaden: The estate covers 650 hectares of farmland and employs only organic, biological methods. It also features a market, a butcher’s shop, a bakery, a café, a restaurant and a guesthouse
// Lifestyle The new Alnatura headquar- ters southwest of Darmstadt: The organic foods retailer supplies 136 of its own outlets in Germany – with 1,350 diffe- rent organic products, many of them decentrally. The freely accessible ground-floor re- staurant gives you an idea of the product quality 30 31 F R M 0 1 I 2 0
The State of Hessen’s government is pressing the pedal on this trend by desi- gnating so-called model eco-regions. The idea is to create structures so that regio- nally produced foods can also be purchased by people from the region. “Marketing in the region” is the motto of the so-called Eco-Action Plan. “We’re positioned regionally. Our fresh foods are harvested only 100 meters away in our fields. This is thoroughbred regional food,” comments Backes and insists that “we’re going to expand on this.” One partner could be Bornhof in the Wehen district of Taunusstein, which is ne- arby. Its products all comply with the strict Demeter quality seal. The milk and the meat from the cattle are so cherished that you have to register early if you hope to get any. However, the farm’s own store is not big enough to work profitably, so Bornhof also supplies other farmers who sell its products at weekly markets or in organic food stores. Alnatura is a big-time organic foods retailer. The Darmstadt-based sector giant has no less than 1,350 organic products on offer, supplied from its logistics center in Lorsch in South Hessen, and runs 136 outlets in 62 cities in Germany, many of them decentrally through regional organic farmers and bakers, and is committed at various levels to promoting ecology. For example, it has a program supporting regional planting projects, such as organic dessert grapes from the Odenwald, wa- termelons from the Rhineland Palatinate, and organic walnuts from Ried. One visible symbol of its success is the new corporate HQ on a re-naturalized for- mer US military base southwest of Darmstadt. The building was constructed using clay and its ecological features are compelling. Ventilation all year round uses fresh air brought into the building from the adjacent woods by a channel in the earth, while a PV plant on the roof provides the electricity, and the water for the sanitary facili- ties and to water the outside areas stems from a rainwater cistern. Incidentally: The ground floor of the new HQ is quite literally to everyone’s taste. Swiss restaurant “tit- bits” offers a selection of 40 different homemade dishes, and they’re 90-percent made from organic produce largely from Alnatura. The idea is to use vegetables and herbs from the garden outside on the Alnatura Campus for their preparation. \\
// Life Sciences WHEN WILL THE VACCINE BE READY? The Paul Ehrlich Institute in Langen decides whether a corona vaccine goes on clinical trial and whether it is subsequently appro- ved. Director Klaus Cichutek explains where things are heading. INTERVIEW: MARTIN ORTH 32 33 F R M 0 1 I 2 0
tal medicine batches. In Germany, no vaccine may go to market until the batches have been officially released for use. To this end, samples of every vaccine batch are experimentally tested before they are marketed and used, be it by the Paul Ehrlich Institute or another OMCL. We are recognized by the WHO, the group of Eu- ropean and globally active medicines agencies, the European Medicines Agency, the European Directorate for the Quality of Medicines & HealthCare, and other organizations and commit- tees as an active and expert partner. In your opinion, how are things likely to continue? When might a vaccine be approved and when would it then be available in larger quantities? BioNTech has announced that it will be filing an application for approval this autumn, presumably with the European Medicines Agency. Assuming the data submitted suffices, vaccine products could be approved worldwide by the end of this year or the be- ginning of next year. At the moment, the Paul Ehrlich Institute, the Robert Koch Institute, the federal states and the Federal Mi- nistry of Health are elaborating a concept for how vaccine sup- plies will be maintained and how the vaccination process will unfold. Do you discern any opportunities to improve or accelerate the de- velopment of a vaccine? Corona is not likely to be the last virus that threatens us. The regulatory process has already been accelerated and opti- mized. At a very early date we provided scientific advice for the vaccine developers. We put in place a procedure that allows ini- tial data packages to be submitted to us for pre-evaluation as soon as they are ready – instead of after the application is filed. And thirdly, phases in the clinical trials that otherwise have to be completed sequentially can be combined. We need to learn for the future, to use the experience gained, to be able to adjust faster to new possibly epidemic or pandemic pathogens that are new to humans or recur in us. The Paul Ehrlich Institute can make an important contribution to future efforts to combat pandemics by means of vaccines and biomedicines, too. \\ The corona network in FrankfurtRhineMain (selection) + Marburg: Philipps University, university teaching hospital + Gießen: Justus Liebig University, university teaching hospital Frankfurt: CureVac, vaccine developer Sanoﬁ, pharmaceutical producer Mainz: BioNTech, vaccine developer Schott: specialist glass manufacturer Johannes Gutenberg University, university teaching hospital Goethe University, university teaching hospital + + + + Langen: Paul Ehrlich Institute, approvals agency Darmstadt: GSi, research center + Erbach: Koziol, mask maker
// Future SO SAYS THE SUPERFORECASTER Roman Hagelstein from Offenbach knows how to predict the future better than the vast majority of other people. Even the CIA relies on his expertise. So how does he do it? And what does he think about the future of FrankfurtRhineMain? BY ALEXANDER JÜRGS (TEXT) AND JONAS RATERMANN (PHOTOS) 40 41 F R M 0 1 I 2 0
> It’s a possibility that’s worrying more than a few people right now: Could it be that ultimately no vaccine will be found for coronavirus? After all, despite many ye- ars of research, as yet no substance has been found to be effective against HIV, the virus that can trigger AIDS. Roman Hagelstein believes this pessimism with regard to a corona vaccine is un- founded. “It’s looking good,” he says. He can even give a percen- tage to express how good the prospects are in his opinion. “The probability that there will be a vaccine for a large number of peo- ple before the autumn of 2021 is around 90 percent.” He rates the chances of having a widely distributable vaccine earlier, between October 2020 and the end of March 2021, at around 60 percent. How does he reach those ﬁgures? Roman Hagelstein is a so- called superforecaster. The Offenbach native is part of a small, globally networked group which, it is said, is able to predict the future far more accurately than others. In their analysis of crises, terrorism or elections, they even outdo secret services. The Ame- rican Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has already brought these forecasters on board on multiple occasions to get predictions on military conflicts and possible unrest. Virtually every time, the superforecasters’ analyses were better than those of the agencies. So what is this group that Hagelstein belongs to? It all stemmed from a research project by US psychology professor Philip Tet- lock. As part of a long-term study, the researcher examined ex- pert prognoses, investigating around 28,000 predictions alto- gether. The sobering result was that the experts’ estimates were in general hardly any more useful than those of the laypersons. Just a small group stood out, whom Tetlock dubbed the “foxes”. Their thinking was characterized less by ideologies or fixed opinions, and they would more readily revise their estimates. The “foxes” generally have an outstanding knowledge of mathematics and are able to process vast amounts of information – and it is this combi- nation that makes their forecasts so outstanding. In 2011, Tetlock launched an online platform aimed at finding precisely such “foxes”: the Good Judgement Project. This posed questions, for which the users could develop and submit their prognoses. Roman Hagelstein was also involved and was evalua- ted on the platform. It soon became clear: His prognoses are better than those of 98 percent of the other users. As a result, two years after registering with the Good Judgement Project he was invited to move to a closed platform, where only a small circle of around 150 people worldwide are active. Hagelstein had achieved his goal: He was a superforecaster.
// Future Roman Hagelstein doesn’t look like he’s working for major cor- porations. He arrives at our meeting at Ha- fen Offenbach sporting a casual checked shirt Most of the superforecasters says the 36-year-old, are men who studied business or political science and most of them come from the USA. There is an above-average number of retired people, since “they have enough time”. After all, time is of the essence for superforecasters, who need to absorb, process, and appraise as much information as possible. When Hagelstein joined the Good Judgement Project, he generally got his knowledge from blogs. Today, he consumes podcasts primarily. In order to listen to as many as possible, he plays them at double speed, “which works well.” Alongside his controller job Hagelstein has also founded his own company: Smart Forecast. He gives presentations and advises companies on how they can improve their forecasts themselves. Estimates of economic developments are especially in demand. What does Hagelstein think about how the economy will fare with the corona crisis? “Germany is in a much better position than many other countries,” he says. And the FrankfurtRhine- Main region is also particularly well prepared, he believes. In cer- tain areas that are exceptionally strong here, there is already a notable upswing, as is the case among consultancy firms in the finance industry, for example, or the innovative fintechs. He is somewhat more skeptical however, about another branch of the economy that’s also important to the region, namely aviati- on. “The number of flights and passenger figures will fall by around half for a prolonged period of time,” Hagelstein fears. Ho- liday air travel, including journeys abroad, will decline in the co- ming summer season, Hagelstein believes, and in terms of busi- ness travel there will be very little recovery. “Managers flying halfway around the world for a business meeting is something we will no longer see very often,” he says. Something the corona cri- sis has revealed all too clearly, he adds, is that a large proportion of the business appointments could be replaced by online mee- tings and video conferences, and that this saves a great deal of money. What is the most important thing when it comes to developing forecasts and looking to the future? “You have to remain free of any agenda,” says Roman Hagelstein. Regarding the facts soberly and without bias – that’s what defines the work of the superfore- casters, he says. Anyone who pays too much attention to their own opinions will often err, as this particular crisis has revealed. \\ 42 43 F R M 0 1 I 2 0
Identifying Strengths n FrankfurtRheinMain is an internationally attractive and highly competitive metro po litan region. n We identify its strengths and show them! Paving the Way n Leading decision-makers from economy and politics are united in one institution. n We discuss targets and strategies together! a Course Setting n Specific projects work out the strengths of the FrankfurtRheinMain metropolitan region and develop these further. n We support these projects! E-Mail: info@verein-frankfurtrheinmain. de www.verein-frm.de Find Your Future in FrankfurtRheinMain! People from almost 200 nations call Frankfurt- RheinMain their home, and everyone who would like to be part of our community is welcome. With its strong economy, great quality of life and cultural diversity, FrankfurtRheinMazin is one of the best places to live in Germany. If you would like to discover the region, we are more than happy to help! Find everything you need to know about living and working in FrankfurtRheinMain on www.find-it-in-frm.de The FrankfurtRheinMain International Office gives you advice by email, phone or in person For news, events and tips, have a look at our social media channels
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