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Top University Rankings for 2004 Released 701

Posted by michael
from the sells-a-lot-of-magazines dept.
jemecki writes "US News and World Report has posted their annual rankings for the top colleges and universities in America. Of particular interest to Slashdotters are the top Computer Engineering and Electrical Engineering universities and the top overall engineering schools. For those that don't want to RTFA, Harvard and Princeton are the best in the country, and MIT, Stanford and Berkeley are the best in Engineering."
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Top University Rankings for 2004 Released

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  • "Premium login"?? (Score:5, Informative)

    by connsmythe96 (576445) <slashdot@MENCKEN ... com minus author> on Friday August 22, 2003 @04:17PM (#6768255) Homepage
    I can only see 3 schools listed. Why post the article if we have to pay to see more than 3 schools in the list?

    Am I missing something?
  • by DeathPenguin (449875) * on Friday August 22, 2003 @04:18PM (#6768265)
    Just want to remind everyone that a lot of the rankings are quite subjective: "The rankings are based solely on the judgments of deans and senior faculty who rated each program they are familiar with on a scale from 1 (marginal) to 5 (distinguished)."

    Personally, I'm more interested in which universities have good industry and job opportunities surrounding them, since my first job after getting a degree will likely be close to wherever I graduate from.
  • by mandalayx (674042) * on Friday August 22, 2003 @04:22PM (#6768319) Journal
    I agree. However remember that in-state undergrads at Berkeley pay only about $6k/year for tuition as opposed to $30k...

    but it's not for everyone :)
  • Hooray (Score:3, Informative)

    by stratjakt (596332) on Friday August 22, 2003 @04:25PM (#6768354) Journal
    Same story as usual. Expensive ivy league schools rated best in class!

    Although this means nothing to me, I know most slashdot readers and editors will be looking at colleges in about 5 years or so.

    Frankly, I've found that the real world puts much less esteem on who granted your degree than the schools themselves do.

    Pretentious eggheads laugh at DeVry, employers dont. They usually care if you can do the job, and have appropriate hygeine.

  • Princeton Review (Score:3, Informative)

    by sometwo (53041) on Friday August 22, 2003 @04:26PM (#6768360)
    Princeton Review has their rankings out and there is no fee. Find out [princetonreview.com] which schools are the party and non-party schools.
  • by Ruie (30480) on Friday August 22, 2003 @04:26PM (#6768367) Homepage
    ...top colleges and universities rank YOU!

    This is actually how it was and still is. People with gold medals or scientific competition accomplishments can get in easier - or even bypass the exams completely. Each university conducts its own exams, so you rarely can apply to more than two.

    So there are ranks of people in the admissions process:

    • Those who are admitted right after applying, with no exams
    • Those who have to take less exams (often just one) and if they get an A are admitted right away.
    • Those who have to take all the exams.
    The last two are sorted by how well they did.

    And, oh yeah, nowadays they have a new category: those who pay with hard currency.

  • by Exitthree (646294) on Friday August 22, 2003 @04:26PM (#6768368) Homepage
    You can see it here [princetonreview.com]. Same colleges different order. ;)
  • by Sonicboom (141577) on Friday August 22, 2003 @04:26PM (#6768370) Journal
    Correct. U of Colorado is the top party school.

    http://www.msnbc.com/news/954063.asp?0si=-

    TOP PARTY SCHOOL
    UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO, BOULDER
    Boulder, Colorado is said to have an endless amount of things to do: concerts, coffee shops, movies, parties, shopping and plenty of outdoor activities for those adventure-seekers. The Division I sports add to the energy of the school and the atmosphere around campus (campus is only 30 minutes from Denver too). The school is large, with over 25,000 undergrads enrolled last year. The student body is described as "a combination of rich kids and hippies, kids who don't care about class work and kids who are super-competitive, studying hard during the week and letting loose on the weekends."
    Runner-ups
    2) University of Wisconsin, Madison
    3) Indiana University (was number one last year)
    4) University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
    5) Washington and Lee University
  • by kalieaire (586092) on Friday August 22, 2003 @04:27PM (#6768383)
    I'm not quite sure how this is possible, but my friend used to be a CS Major at Stanford. The department of computer science was accredited.

    However, Stanford's Engineering department was not. The reason being is that most of the classes were taught by TA's, aka graduate students.

    Stanford didn't meet the minimum requirement of actual Professors with Graduate and Post Graduate degrees teaching lectures.

    With that understanding, how is it possible for Stanford to even be a top school in engineering?

    The only reason I can find is that though the department may not be accredited, and that the instruction may not be from seasoned professionals, the classes taught are still of the quality you would hope from a university that used to allow students to drop classes the day before the final. (sarcastic, but also thoughtfully meaning that the instruction has improved greatly)

  • by Brahmastra (685988) on Friday August 22, 2003 @04:28PM (#6768387)
    How about University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign? They have an excellent Electrical/Computer Engineering program. And at this point, it's probably better to get a degree with some hardware in it rather than pure software. It'll reduce the chances of being in unemployment lines. Most of the top 10-20 schools have big job-fairs with most large tech companies attending. Going to any of these schools, and getting reasonable grades should give you a very good chance of landing a job easily.
  • by El_Ge_Ex (218107) on Friday August 22, 2003 @04:36PM (#6768501) Journal
    Michigan is usually in the top 5 for both CE and EE. But I'm not gonna pay for the premium so I don't know if they are this year.

    One of the things I love most about U of M is that they'll let any student in Engineering take any class for any department without looking at the Prereqs. One extra year and I could add Film and Math degrees practically without even applying to those departments.

    -B
  • by kpansky (577361) on Friday August 22, 2003 @04:37PM (#6768513)
    I would recommend Northwestern as a good option for you. I think their ECE department is excellent. The CS department however, is so-so. And the co-op program at Northwestern has really served me well. Full disclosure: I go to Northwestern
  • by Texodore (56174) on Friday August 22, 2003 @04:38PM (#6768528)
    Do NOT go to CWRU. I did, I got a good education, can't recommend it. I'm sure others will have better reasons than I. Some of them:

    - One of the computer professors was diagnosed as insane.
    - The accredidation for the grad program was placed on probation about 5 years ago for a 3 year period.
    - Rumors have it the place is falling apart, and no one likes the new President. This from my mother-in-law, who used to work in the University publicity/communication office.
    - The campus is in the middle of urban Cleveland, i.e., the hood.

    You'll make friends, and have an OK time, and make the most of it. You get a great name to put on your degree. But I definitely can't recommend the computer department there. If you're serious about your education, don't pick CWRU unless you have your expectations set that you'll have to teach yourself a lot and learn from your peers instead of professors.

    One point to make about most of these institutions: If you're smart, you'll get a good education, regardless of how good or bad the professors are. I say this because you will gravitate towards the other smart folks in class, and you'll end up teaching each other as much, if not more, than you'll learn from a professor. This may not be true at teaching institutions, but it was my experience at CWRU...er...Case.
  • by jemenake (595948) on Friday August 22, 2003 @04:41PM (#6768552)
    Recently, I served on a committee for our college that did some strategic planning. You know... the whole "strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats" deal.

    Anyway, one of the ideas that someone brought up was the notion of trying to influence our ranking in the U.S. News annual report. So we looked into how the rankings are done.

    As I recall, it turned out that the main factor in the rankings of universities as a whole was the peer assessment (other deans of universities and colleges). To this end, all of the institutions who put a priority on being near the top of the list make sure to send out promo material to everyone that U.S. News queries... ideally a few weeks before U.S. News sends out the queries, so that the promo material is still fresh in the mind of the voters.

    For either the overall rankings or the rankings of the individual programs (like engineering, business, etc), there were some other very interesting quantitative measures that came into play. One of them was something like the percentage of classes with fewer than, say, 21 students (which increase a school's score) and another was the percentage of classes with more than about 35 students (which lower a school's score).

    One insteresting suggestion someone on the committee made was, if we had any classes with a maximum class size of 21 or 22, lower it to 20. Only one or two students have to wait until next quarter for the class, and the college gets a discreet jump in its score. Same goes for lowering classes with a max of 35 or 36 to 34. Every little bit helps.

    Anyway, the long and short of the story is that... there are a lot of clever people who make it their business to juice the scores that their school gets. If a school isn't very high on the list, it doesn't necessarily mean that it's a bad school. It might just mean that they haven't found out how the ranking game is really played. (Kinda like an athlete who doesn't realize that everyone else is using steroids yet).
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 22, 2003 @04:43PM (#6768577)
    No, actually the existence of a Ph.D. program is usually taken to be the difference between a smaller, teaching-oriented "college" and a larger research-oriented "university". That's how almost everyone in the US education industry sees these things.

    The explanation I would give for the stats you mentioned above is probably the fact that huge research institutions like MIT/Stanford/Berkeley spend lots of money on the departments with Ph.D. programs and the undergraduates there have a lot more resources than they would at a smaller college. I know when I was a research assistant in my "university"'s CS department (yeah, it's on those lists) I had a huge office space, a lot bigger than the office I have now in industry. (Yes, I have an office not a cubicle, and I still had more space as a researcher.)
  • by mph (7675) <mph@freebsd.org> on Friday August 22, 2003 @04:46PM (#6768599)
    Somehow the PhD program elevates the undergrad program?
    I don't find this at all surprising, although I'm in the physical sciences, not engineering.

    In general, the best and brightest faculty in a given field are going to be primarily interested in their research. Graduate students are vital, and substantial, part of most research programs. Thus, the leaders in a field are more likely to go to an institution where they can supervise a cadre of grad students.

    (Yes, there are exceptions; some brilliant professors are happy to concentrate on teaching rather than research. You'll find good examples at the institutions at the top of the list. I am speaking in general.)

  • Re: Northwestern (Score:3, Informative)

    by joncarwash (600744) <jonathanwhodges&gmail,com> on Friday August 22, 2003 @04:47PM (#6768614) Homepage

    I'm in ChemE at Northwestern, and the department is very good, so I would recommend it. In terms of computers, I know a good amount of CS majors and not many like the department that much, and from what I have seen it is not that wonderful. The ECE department is good though, I know many ECE majors and some grads and they enjoy it and get a lot out of it.

    And about the co-op program, I would have to say I approve; guess where I'm writing this from ;) The program here has undergone some bumps over the past years with a new director, but I would still recommend it for almost anyone in engineering.

  • by solarium_rider (677164) on Friday August 22, 2003 @04:48PM (#6768624)
    As far as the Computer Engineering and Electrical Engineering rankings go, they've been available for a while. Note the comment on the bottom of the pages: *This ranking was computed in January of the year cited, based on data from a survey sent out in the fall of the previous year.
  • List (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 22, 2003 @04:48PM (#6768628)
    1(tie). Harvard University (MA)
    1(tie). Princeton University (NJ)

    3. Yale University (CT)
    4. Massachusetts Inst. of Technology
    5. California Institute of Technology
    Duke University (NC)
    Stanford University (CA)
    University of Pennsylvania
    9. Dartmouth College (NH)
    Washington University in St. Louis
    11. Columbia University (NY)
    Northwestern University (IL)
    13. University of Chicago
    14. Cornell University (NY)
    Johns Hopkins University (MD)
    16. Rice University (TX)
    17. Brown University (RI)
    18. Emory University (GA)
    19. University of Notre Dame (IN)
    Vanderbilt University (TN)
    21. University of California - Berkeley *
    University of Virginia *
    23. Carnegie Mellon University (PA)
    Georgetown University (DC)
    25. University of Michigan - Ann Arbor *
    26. Univ. of California - Los Angeles *
    27. Tufts University (MA)
    28. Wake Forest University (NC)
    29. U. of North Carolina - Chapel Hill *
    30. Univ. of Southern California
    31. College of William and Mary (VA)*
    32. Brandeis University (MA)
    Univ. of California - San Diego *
    Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison *
    35. New York University
    University of Rochester (NY)
    37. Case Western Reserve Univ. (OH)
    Georgia Institute of Technology *
    Lehigh University (PA)
    40. Boston College
    U. of Illinois - Urbana - Champaign *
    Yeshiva University (NY)
    43. University of California - Davis *
    44. Tulane University (LA)
    45. University of California - Irvine *
    Univ. of California - Santa Barbara *
    University of Washington *
    48. Pennsylvania State U. - University Park *
    Rensselaer Polytechnic Inst. (NY)
    University of Florida *
    51. George Washington University (DC)
    Pepperdine University (CA)
    53. Univ. of Maryland - College Park *
    University of Texas - Austin *
    55. Syracuse University (NY)
    Worcester Polytechnic Inst. (MA)
    57. University of Iowa *
    58. Purdue Univ. - West Lafayette (IN)*
    University of Georgia *
    60. Ohio State University - Columbus *
    Rutgers - New Brunswick (NJ)*
    University of Miami (FL)
    Univ. of Minnesota - Twin Cities *
    64. Boston University
    Miami University - Oxford (OH)*
    University of Connecticut *
    67. Brigham Young Univ. - Provo (UT)
    Indiana University - Bloomington *
    Texas A&M Univ. - College Station *
    Univ. of California - Santa Cruz *
    University of Delaware *
    University of Pittsburgh *
    73. Clark University (MA)
    Michigan State University *
    Southern Methodist University (TX)
    Univ. of Missouri - Columbia *
    Virginia Tech *
    78. Baylor University (TX)
    Clemson University (SC)*
    St. Louis University
    SUNY - Binghamton *
    SUNY Coll. Environ. Sci. and Forestry *
    University of Colorado - Boulder *
    84. Fordham University (NY)
    North Carolina State U. - Raleigh *
    Univ. of California - Riverside *
    87. Illinois Institute of Technology
    Iowa State University *
    Stevens Institute of Technology (NJ)
    University of Denver
    91. Marquette University (WI)
    Univ. of Massachusetts - Amherst *
    University of Tulsa (OK)
    University of Vermont *
    95. Auburn University (AL)*
    University of Kansas *
    University of New Hampshire *
    University of Tennessee *
    99. American University (DC)
    Loyola University Chicago
    Michigan Technological University *
    Texas Christian University
    University of Alabama *
    University of Arizona *
    University of San Diego
    Washington State University *
    107. Ohio University *
    University of Dayton (OH)
    University of Kentucky *
    Univ. of Nebraska - Lincoln *
    University of the Pacific (CA)
    112. Catholic University of America (DC)
    Colorado State University *
    Florida State University *
    University of Missouri - Rolla *
    Univ. of
  • by KillerHamster (645942) on Friday August 22, 2003 @04:50PM (#6768646) Homepage

    I don't know which has the BEST female to male ratio, but BGSU [bgsu.edu] has about a 3:1 ratio. Not too bad, but obviously irrelevant for us geeks.

    Oh, and the bandwidth is great. They block all P2P, though.

  • Re:"Premium login"?? (Score:1, Informative)

    by CrazyTalk (662055) on Friday August 22, 2003 @04:52PM (#6768652)
    Has anyone actually clicked on the links for different categories? I'm not registered on the site, yet I can view the lists of "premimum content", just not drill down and see the complete info that went into the ranking. Rest assured, you can see the complete rankings of the schools for free.
  • by BigBlockMopar (191202) on Friday August 22, 2003 @04:58PM (#6768705) Homepage

    Of course MIT is the best engineering school - they have the best understanding of engineers!

    MIT Traditonal, The Engineer's Drinking Song [mit.edu], as sung by engineers worldwide.

    Search for it on Kazaa, you'll find the Chorallaries excellent version.

  • by ManoMarks (574691) on Friday August 22, 2003 @04:58PM (#6768710) Journal
    http://www.princetonreview.com/college/research/ra nkings/rankings.asp And give 351 best and has feedback from students as well as schools.
  • Bah (Score:5, Informative)

    by Vann_v2 (213760) on Friday August 22, 2003 @05:09PM (#6768796) Homepage
    These things are such a scam. Everyone should read this [uchicago.edu] article.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 22, 2003 @05:23PM (#6768923)
    Actually... Caltech is about as underpriced as you can get. More financial aid, "work"-study, grossly paid summer research fellowships, upperclassman (full-rides) merit scholarships... etc.

    Take #5 off your list.
  • by ian stevens (5465) on Friday August 22, 2003 @05:47PM (#6769112) Homepage
    The above post listed the rankings for Canadian medical doctorial universities instead of the rankings for universities in the comprehensive category [macleans.ca].
  • "Overpriced?" (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 22, 2003 @05:58PM (#6769201)
    As someone who works in higher ed, I get a bit tired of this.

    Guess what: higher ed is expensive. I work at a very expensive private college. Assuming that you were to pay full freight for everything (few do), you would pay $11k/year less than it actually cost us to provide you the classes, services, room+board, etc.

    So how do we do it? Volume! No, really we make it up by grants, donations and endowment income. The latter has been in the tank over the past few years, the former has been a lot tighter as well as all those insta-zillionaires watched their stock profits vaporize.

    Cuts? Sure. My department's budget is down 25%, we're running 20% low on staff. We're under hiring freeze, we're putting off needed renovations (Library+leaky roof = bad news) we've stopped replacing computers in labs, we have cut adjunct profs and reduced the courses taught, etc, etc. And guess what: the budget still doesn't balance. We're eating our endowment to stay alive until the good times return. (And that's with the amazingly lower salaries in higher ed: you think you can get a PhD with 20 years of experience for $80k/year in industry? Our president makes a whopping $165k: a CEO of a similar sized corporation would clear a million easy.)

    We're one of the lucky ones. We've got enough endowment to survive for quite a bit longer without layoffs. We even got a small raise this year.

    But overpriced? No way: it just costs a hell of a lot to run a college.

  • Re:"Premium login"?? (Score:5, Informative)

    by SeanAhern (25764) on Friday August 22, 2003 @06:00PM (#6769210) Journal
    Uh...I can see all of them, and I'm not a "subscriber". When I click on "Top Schools", I get 123 different rank groups. I only get statistics for Harvard and Princeton. Accessing the rest of the statistics requires that I buy something.

    For those who don't care to link, here's [usnews.com] the ranking:

    1. Harvard University

    Princeton University (NJ)
    3. Yale University (CT)
    4. Massachusetts Inst. of Technology
    5. California Institute of Technology
    Duke University (NC)
    Stanford University (CA)
    University of Pennsylvania
    9. Dartmouth College (NH)
    Washington University in St. Louis
    11. Columbia University (NY)
    Northwestern University (IL)
    13. University of Chicago
    14. Cornell University (NY)
    Johns Hopkins University (MD)
    16. Rice University (TX)
    17. Brown University (RI)
    18. Emory University (GA)
    19. University of Notre Dame (IN)
    Vanderbilt University (TN)
    21. University of California - Berkeley *
    University of Virginia *
    23. Carnegie Mellon University (PA)
    Georgetown University (DC)
    25. University of Michigan - Ann Arbor *
    26. Univ. of California - Los Angeles *
    27. Tufts University (MA)
    28. Wake Forest University (NC)
    29. U. of North Carolina - Chapel Hill *
    30. Univ. of Southern California
    31. College of William and Mary (VA)*
    32. Brandeis University (MA)
    Univ. of California - San Diego *
    Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison *
    35. New York University
    University of Rochester (NY)
    37. Case Western Reserve Univ. (OH)
    Georgia Institute of Technology *
    Lehigh University (PA)
    40. Boston College
    U. of Illinois - Urbana - Champaign *
    Yeshiva University (NY)
    43. University of California - Davis *
    44. Tulane University (LA)
    45. University of California - Irvine *
    Univ. of California - Santa Barbara *
    University of Washington *
    48. Pennsylvania State U. - University Park *
    Rensselaer Polytechnic Inst. (NY)
    University of Florida *
    51. George Washington University (DC)
    Pepperdine University (CA)
    53. Univ. of Maryland - College Park *
    University of Texas - Austin *
    55. Syracuse University (NY)
    Worcester Polytechnic Inst. (MA)
    57. University of Iowa *
    58. Purdue Univ. - West Lafayette (IN)*
    University of Georgia *
    60. Ohio State University - Columbus *
    Rutgers - New Brunswick (NJ)*
    University of Miami (FL)
    Univ. of Minnesota - Twin Cities *
    64. Boston University
    Miami University - Oxford (OH)*
    University of Connecticut *
    67. Brigham Young Univ. - Provo (UT)
    Indiana University - Bloomington *
    Texas A&M Univ. - College Station *
    Univ. of California - Santa Cruz *
    University of Delaware *
    University of Pittsburgh *
    73. Clark University (MA)
    Michigan State University *
    Southern Methodist University (TX)
    Univ. of Missouri - Columbia *
    Virginia Tech *
    78. Baylor University (TX)
    Clemson University (SC)*
    St. Louis University
    SUNY - Binghamton *
    SUNY Coll. Environ. Sci. and Forestry *
    University of Colorado - Boulder *
    84. Fordham University (NY)
    North Carolina State U. - Raleigh *
    Univ. of California - Riverside *
    87. Illinois Institute of Technology
    Iowa State University *
    Stevens Institute of Technology (NJ)
    University of Denver
    91. Marquette University (WI)
    Univ. of Massachusetts - Amherst *
    University of Tulsa (OK)
    Univers

  • by cymen (8178) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [givnemyc]> on Friday August 22, 2003 @06:15PM (#6769304) Homepage
    Can anyone share their experience transferring from a school here in the US to Cananda? It is definately something I would consider. Lots of questions about financial aid and credit transfer come to mind.
  • by dereklam (621517) on Friday August 22, 2003 @06:28PM (#6769412)
    Somehow the PhD program elevates the undergrad program?

    The article's "UI" is a little confusing. It appears the first list ranks only those universities whose programs stop at the master's level. The second list ranks only those universities whose programs stop at the doctorate level.

    Otherwise, it would be useless to have the two lists, because they'd probably be identical and dominated by the universities with doctorate programs.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 22, 2003 @07:07PM (#6769668)
    Slate Magazine did a good run on US News caught twiddling the statistics in order to invent news when there wasn't any. See here [msn.com] and here [msn.com].

    But it gets worse than that. My father was department chair for an unquestionably top-3 department in the field of Health Administration. This is the intersection of business administration and medicine -- an MHA qualifies you to run a hospital, drug company, medical supply firm, etc. Some Health Administration departments are part of medical schools (including my dad's). Others, including generally the lower ranked ones, are attached to business schools.

    One year US News came out with their rankings and ta-da! My dad's department had dropped from #3 to out of the rankings entirely (15 schools or so). So had several other top-ranked departments. It turns out that the business schools had heavily lobbied US News to only consider MHA programs attached to business schools.

    This survey is a joke.

  • Re:Johns Hopkins (Score:3, Informative)

    by Halo- (175936) on Friday August 22, 2003 @07:27PM (#6769793)
    Man they're a ton of us JHU geeks out today... I actually entered in 1999. If I recall correctly, the majority of the reason for the 15 -> 7 jump was that Mike (Sugar Daddy) Bloomberg gave us a metric assload of money. So did Krieger. I'm sure there were other factors, but a quick 100 million dollars buys a lot. :)
  • by alienw (585907) <alienw...slashdot@@@gmail...com> on Friday August 22, 2003 @08:10PM (#6770040)
    Good luck getting a job in the US after graduating from a Canadian university. Going to a crappy college in the US will give you better chances to get a job here. The Indian Institute of Technology might be more prestigious than MIT, but few people in the US know that.

    Besides, the quality of the education you receive at a university is largely dependent upon you, rather than the university. A smart student who strives to achieve his best rather than the bare minimum will likely do equally well at a no-name state school and at a prestigious Ivy League. A stupid student who does the bare minimum will not get a good education at any school.

    Besides, do you realize these ratings are largely subjective? I thought it was more-or-less understood that ratings are bullshit.
  • Re:"Overpriced?" (Score:2, Informative)

    by 110010001000 (697113) on Friday August 22, 2003 @08:22PM (#6770089) Homepage Journal
    Yes, but consider this: you have an easy job, lots of benefits, TONS of vacation, little stress, good work environment.

    I worked in higher ed for a while and although the pay was low, the rest of the benefits made up for it.
  • by blowhole (155935) on Saturday August 23, 2003 @12:58AM (#6771196)
    I think just about every Asian-American family I know of does this. I find it extremely odd when I hear of people who aren't having daddy pay for their education.

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