Professor Bogumil Ulanicki

Job: Professor of Engineering Systems

Faculty: Technology

School/department: School of Engineering and Sustainable Development

Research group(s): Centre for Engineering Science and Advanced Systems (CESAS), Water Software Systems (WSS)

Address: De Montfort University, The Gateway, Leicester, LE1 9BH

T: +44 (0)116 257 7058

E: bul@dmu.ac.uk

W: www.dmu.ac.uk

 

Personal profile

Prof. Bogumil Ulanicki has been leading the Water Software Systems (WSS) research group since 1989. Their research has been primarily concerned with water distribution systems (WDS) and more recently also with wastewater treatment. WDS are very complex spatially distributed systems comprising thousands of components, such as treatment works, tanks, pipes, pumps, valves and specialised control components to deliver drinking water to customers. The water distribution infrastructure has to be operated, maintained, developed, and customers have to be served. The aim of research in this area is to develop computer based methods and tools to help water companies with these activities. WSS under Bogumil’s leadership has carried 17 research projects sponsored by EPSRC, EU, TSB and the British Council, and 14 industrial contract research projects for the water industry. All the projects have been inspired by the needs of the water industry and the results have been validated in practice. Some algorithms have been widely accepted by the water research community, e.g. model reduction algorithm, operational scheduling models and algorithms, burst detection method and models of biological reactors and membrane fouling. In summary their research is focused on:

Solving engineering problems in water distribution systems, including:

  • Modelling of water distribution systems
  • Energy and pressure management
  • Leakage management and burst detection
  • Steady state and dynamic pressure control
  • Modelling and control of dynamic and transient phenomena
  • Information integration in a water enterprises
  • Software development for engineering applications

Solving engineering problems in the wastewater area, including:

  • Dynamic modelling and control of membrane biological reactors
  • Modelling of membrane fouling
  • Wastewater treatment process piloting, optimisation and control
  • Computational fluid dynamics (CFD)

Research group affiliations

Centre for Engineering Science and Advanced Systems (CESAS), Water Software Systems (WSS)

Publications and outputs 

  • Solving the battle of post-disaster response and restauration (BPDRR) problem with the aid of multi-phase optimization framework
    Solving the battle of post-disaster response and restauration (BPDRR) problem with the aid of multi-phase optimization framework Zhang, Qingzhou; Zheng, Feifei; Diao, K.; Ulanicki, Bogumil; Huang, Yuan The Battle of Post-Disaster Response and Restauration (BPDRR) is a challenging optimization problem which requires the restauration of the B-city water distribution network (WDN) after an earthquake. More specifically, the water utility is looking to schedule the available three crews to isolate, repair or replace the damaged pipes to rapidly improve the system’s capacity of restoring the service. A many-objective analysis framework is used to identify the best way to respond to the disaster and restore functionality of the water distribution network for each post-earthquake scenario. The many-objective formulation focuses on a suite of six objectives, as follows: (1) time that the hospitals and the firefighting flows are without supply, (2) rapidity of recovery, (3) resilience loss, (4) average time each consumer (node) is without service, (5) number of consumers (nodes) without service for more than 8 consecutive hours, and (6) volume of water lost during the next 7 days after the event. We proposed a multi-phase optimization methodology in combination with manual intervention, which takes the advantage of evolutionary computation as well as engineering experiences. The method consists of three stages: (1) preliminary analysis; (2) sub-optimization; and (3) global optimization. A pressure-driven model is used to enable the pipe-breaking analysis as it can simulate the outflows and water shortages induced by pipe breaks. Such a strategy is expected to find feasible and optimal solutions in an efficient manner. The improved genetic algorithm is applied to solve the optimization problem. Details of the recovery strategy resulting from the proposed optimization method are provided. The results provide some value insights on how to make considerate optimal recovery plan. For instance, certain broken pipes have to be fixed between particular time stamps to avoid negative affects on the level of services at some critical facilities. This is a joint publication in collaboration with Prof. Zheng's water research group at Zhejiang University in China. The study was carried out for participating the competition of "Battle of Post-Disaster Response and Restoration (BPDRR)" organized in the WDSA/ CCWI 2018 conference, and our result was at the top level among all the participated teams. Two journal papers based on this study are under preparation.
  • Fractality in water distribution networks
    Fractality in water distribution networks Diao, K.; Butler, David; Ulanicki, Bogumil Fractals have been identified as a common feature of many natural and artificial systems that exhibit similar patterning at different scales. Understanding fractals is a critical aspect of decoding complex systems, as the pattern of such large systems can be revealed by identifying only a small part of the system. Furthermore, identify existing features of such systems can start at the large scale with the fewest details of the system under scrutiny before doing a more detailed analysis at finer scales. Such a process provides an efficient and reliable way of analysing and managing information of big data systems. This study revealed the fractality in water distribution networks (WDNs) based on research on fractals in complex networks. Specifically, we explored the existence of fractal patterns in six real world WDNs of different complexities (e.g. from a network with only 21 pipes to a network with 2465 pipes). The box-covering algorithm has been applied, which is the most widely used method to distinguish between fractal or non-fractal networks. The WDNs are first mapped into undirected graphs. Next, the method partitions the nodes into boxes of size lB, i.e. the maximal distance between nodes within each box is at most lB-1. By varying the box sizes, different minimum numbers of boxes NB required to cover the entire network can be identified. A network is fractal if the regression line for log(NB) and log(lB) is linear. The results demonstrate the existence of fractal patterns in all case study WDNs, as linear regression lines with coefficient of determination over 0.95 (R^2>0.95) are obtained in all analyses. As further verification, the self-similarity on multiscales is revealed, i.e. the similarity in patterns of component criticality. Based on the fractal patterns, a systematic method is also developed for more efficient identification of critical pipes in WDNs, e.g. reducing the computational load by 61% in the case study.
  • Hydraulic modelling for pressure reducing valve controller design addressing disturbance rejection and stability properties
    Hydraulic modelling for pressure reducing valve controller design addressing disturbance rejection and stability properties Janus, Tomasz; Ulanicki, Bogumil Pressure reducing valves (PRVs) are widely used in water distribution systems to reduce excess pressure caused by variations in terrain elevation or by excessive pumping. The fundamental role of a PRV is to maintain a desired outlet pressure irrespectively of hydraulic conditions in the water distribution network (WDN). Unfortunately, even a stable PRV can exhibit poor disturbance rejection resulting in variations of outlet pressure around the setpoint due to randomly varying demands. The aim of this paper is to better understand this phenomenon and to develop models which would facilitate designing effective controllers considering the stability and disturbance rejection issues Open Access article
  • Integrating water, waste, energy, transport and ICT aspects into the smart city concept
    Integrating water, waste, energy, transport and ICT aspects into the smart city concept Strzelecka, A.; Ulanicki, Bogumil; Koops, Stef; Koetsier, Laurence; van Leeuwen, Kees; Elelman, Richard The paper presents the partial results of the EU BlueSCities project [1]. The project is developing the methodology for the integration of the water and waste sectors within the ’Smart Cities and Communities’ concept to compliment other priority areas such as energy, transport and Information and mmunication Technologies (ICT). The project has developed the City Blueprint Framework or water and waste and the City Amberprint Framework for energy, transport and ICT. Open Access article
  • Water Distribution Systems
    Water Distribution Systems Ulanicki, Bogumil Water is the source of life. Its global importance is beyond question. It is essential for all human settlements, including cities. Water influences our social, economic, political and cultural lives. Above all, it is a human right, as recognised by the United Nations back in 2010. The 2015 Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) of Clean Water and Sanitation aims to ensure access to water and sanitation for all, as part of an international effort to fight inequalities and tackle climate change. In order to quench the growing thirst of our planet, we need to manage water intelligently, certainly more intelligently than we have done to date. Water is an irreplaceable resource for society, but it is only renewable if well managed. We need to be open to innovation with regard to water management, especially in our cities - the urban areas which are home to an ever-increasing majority of the world’s population. In order to foster innovation and achieve its acceptance by society, scientific and technological knowledge must not only be generated but also communicated in a way that can be understood by all citizens. What must follow is an open public debate in which the priorities of our political agendas are established. And what better way to facilitate such a debate than through art? Through the passage of time, the role of water as the principal ingredient of life has been reflected in the world of art. It is the one element that has dominated human civilisation. Observing man’s perception of water through the eyes of the artist allows us to appreciate a simple truth, too often forgotten, hich is that we simply would not exist without water. The Urban Water Atlas for Europe reveals the new, pioneering concept of Sci-Art Water Diplomacy. This concept first appeared in a pilot scheme in Jordan which led to the exhibition “Science and Art in Water – Water through the eyes of Jordanian children”, organised under the auspices of the Jordanian Minister for Education by the European Commission’s science and knowledge service (the Joint Research Centre) and the partners of the Horizon 2020 Project, BlueSCities. Schoolchildren from different countries were encouraged to consider the water problems facing their region and to describe their personal feelings through drawings. The children’s thought-provoking, yet innocent images called on society to progress towards a more ecological, more sustainable and more peaceful future, perhaps far more effectively than any scientific treatise. The dramatic results of this exercise laid the philosophical basis for the Urban Water Atlas for Europe The Atlas gathers best practices of urban water management, and demonstrates how cities are addressing issues by endeavouring to become not only smart, but also resilient to the water challenges that lie ahead. The multisector collaboration involved in preparing the Atlas helped show local politicians the necessity for cities and towns to convert supranational intentions into feasible regional and local realities with regard to water and climate resilience, whilst demonstrating the advantages of an inter-municipal partnership based on trust and experience. The Atlas thus shows the way towards a new and even stronger European ideal. We hope it will be a source of inspiration for you all.
  • Integrated benchmark simulation model of an immersed membrane bioreactor
    Integrated benchmark simulation model of an immersed membrane bioreactor Janus, Tomasz; Ulanicki, Bogumil This paper presents a new integrated model of an immersed membrane bioreactor (iMBR)for wastewater treatment. The model is constructed out of three previously published sub-models describing the bioreactor, the membrane, and the interface between them. Thebioreactor submodel extends a conventional activated sludge model with soluble and boundbiopolymers which have been found to cause irreversible and reversible fouling. The mem-brane model describes fouling as a function of biopolymer concentrations, permeate flow,and shear stresses on the membrane surface. The interface describes the dependency ofoxygen transfer rate on suspended solids concentrations and calculates shear stresses onthe membrane surface from air-scour rates. The paper serves three purposes. First, the inte-grated model is simulated on a plant layout of a previously published MBR benchmark modelwhich did not consider any interactions between the submodels. Hence, this paper presentsa new and upgraded MBR benchmark model. Secondly, the simulation results showcase howsimulations with an integrated model can be used to optimise plant performance and min-imise energy consumption. Finally, the paper introduces new measures of fouling whichcan be used for benchmarking different MBR plant layouts and control strategies. The file attached to this record is the author's final peer reviewed version. The Publisher's final version can be found by following the DOI link.
  • Interface model between the bioreactor and the membrane in a membrane bioreactor for wastewater treatment.
    Interface model between the bioreactor and the membrane in a membrane bioreactor for wastewater treatment. Janus, Tomasz; Ulanicki, Bogumil This paper proposes a structure of an integrated mathematical model of a membrane bioreactor (MBR) and describes the links between two main parts of a MBR model: the bioreactor and the membrane. In case of an immersed MBR three types of links are considered: a relationship between specific cake resistance (SCR) and extracellular polymeric substances (EPS) in the bioreactor, a relationship between air scour rate and shear stresses on the membrane surface, and a relationship between concentration of soluble microbial products (SMP) in the bioreactor and rate of pore constriction. While SMP concentration features directly in the equations of pore constriction, EPS are assumed to affect SCR which in turn has an effect on cake filtration. The relationship between EPS and SCR is described with a linear algebraic equation. Shear stresses on the membrane surface are calculated as a function of air scour rate with a one- imensional slug flow model.
  • ASM1-based activated sludge model with biopolymer kinetics for integrated simulation of membrane bioreactors for wastewater treatment
    ASM1-based activated sludge model with biopolymer kinetics for integrated simulation of membrane bioreactors for wastewater treatment Janus, Tomasz; Ulanicki, Bogumil This paper presents an activated sludge model suitable for modelling membrane bioreactors (MBRs) for wastewater treatment. The model, later referred to as combined EPS and SMP production ASM1-based model (CES-ASM1), extends Activated Sludge Model No. 1 (ASM1) with biokinetics of two types of bacterial biopolymers: soluble microbial products (SMP) and extracellular polymeric substances (EPS). The biopolymer kinetics in CES-ASM1 are, in their majority, borrowed from Laspidou and Rittmann[1] although, as shall be explained in the article, with one conceptual correction a kinetic pathway of biomass associated products (BAP). CES-ASM1 was calibrated on published experimental results from batch and continuous flow laboratory and pilot plant experiments and proved to be in good agreement with measurements. Standard set of parameters was then proposed as a combination of empirically identified and literature values. The model was then used to predict SMP and EPS production in an activated sludge system under various operating conditions.
  • Measurements and analysis of cavitation in a pressure reducing valve during operation – a case study
    Measurements and analysis of cavitation in a pressure reducing valve during operation – a case study Picinali, L.; Janus, T.; Ulanicki, Bogumil This paper proposes a methodology and presents its practical application for evaluating whether a pressure reducing valve (PRV) is under cavitation during its operation in a water distribution system. The approach is based on collecting measurements over a 24-hour period such that high demand and low demand times are included. The ollected measurements allow evaluation of four indicators related to cavitation, namely the draulic cavitation index, noise generated by the valve, acoustic cavitation index and the spectra of the noise. These four indicators provide sufficient information for diagnosis of cavitation with high certainty.
  • A Behavioural Membrane Fouling Model for Integrated Simulation of Membrane Bioreactors for Wastewater Treatment
    A Behavioural Membrane Fouling Model for Integrated Simulation of Membrane Bioreactors for Wastewater Treatment Janus, Tomasz; Ulanicki, Bogumil This paper presents a simple membrane fouling model intended for use in conjunction with an activated sludge model to form an integrated model of a membrane bioreactor (MBR). It is based on an earlier development of Liang et al.[1] who divided fouling into short-term reversible fouling tantamount with cake deposition and long-term irreversible fouling representing th effects of irreversible particle deposition inside membrane pores. The original model was extended to account for cake detachment, back- flushing, and dependency of soluble microbial products (SMP) deposition on permeate flux. The model was identified on two sets of data from two experiments: a short-term flux stepping experiment under fluxes higher from the ‘threshold flux’ and a long-term filtration experiment under fluxes not exceeding the ‘threshold flux’. Additionally, the paper proposes a simple ‘pen and ruler’ identification method for unique estimation of model parameters based on the information obtained from flux stepping experiments.

Click here to view a full listing of Bogumil Ulanicki's publications and outputs.

Key research outputs

Brdyś, M.A. and Ulanicki, B. (1994), Operational Control of Water Systems: Structures, algorithms and applications, Prentice Hall, New York, London, Toronto.

Ulanicki, B., Kahler, J. and See, H J. (2007). “Dynamic Optimization Approach for Solving an Optimal Scheduling Problem in Water Distribution Systems”, ASCE Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management, 133 (1).

Ulanicki B, Kahler J & Coulbeck B (2008), Modeling the Efficiency and Power Characteristics of a Pump Group, J Water Resources Planning and Management, Vol 134, No 1, pp 88-93, DOI 10.1061/(ASCE)0733-9496(2008)134:1(88).

AbdelMeguid H, Skworcow P & Ulanicki B (2011), ‘Mathematical modelling of a hydraulic controller for PRV flow modulation’, Journal of Hydroinformatics, Vol 13, No 3, pp 374–389, DOI 10.2166/hydro.2011.024

Martinez Alzamora F., Ulanicki, B. and Salomons, E. (2012). “A fast and practical method for model reduction of large scale water distribution networks”, Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management. doi:10.1061/(ASCE)WR.1943-5452.0000333

Research interests/expertise

Bogumil Ulanicki is the Head of Research of the Water Software Systems research group at De Montfort University. He is an expert in the areas of Control and Water Engineering including clean water and wastewater and mathematical modelling. Prof. Ulanicki has led 28 major projects, including 16 research projects financed by EPSRC, DTI and EC and 12 contract research projects for the EU and UK water industry. 

He has over 100 refereed publications and his contributions include developing original methods for analysis, control and design of water systems. A number of these methods have subsequently been utilised for solving practical design and operational problems.

Areas of teaching

As a Lecturer at Bialystok Technical University Prof. Ulanicki taught six different subjects in the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering. At De Montfort University he has taught 14 different modules at undergraduate and MSc levels. The majority of the modules have primarily concerned System Modelling, Instrumentation and Control and Industrial IT.

Qualifications

Bogumil Ulanicki received his education from the Warsaw University of Technology in Poland: MSc in Automatic Control and PhD in Hierarchical Control of Complex Systems. In 1994 he was awarded a DSc from the same institution. He worked as a Senior Lecturer at Bialystok Technical University in Poland from 1979 to 1987. In 1987 he joined the Water Software Systems group at De Montfort University and subsequently became Director of Research for the group.

He is currently a Professor of Engineering Systems at De Montfort University. In 1997 he was awarded the title of Honorary Professor of Harbin Institute of Technology in China for his achievements in the area of Water Engineering.

Courses taught

  • BEng Mechanical Engineering, BEng Electronic Engineering, Project Supervision, ENGD300
  • MSc Electronic Engineering, Control and Instrumentation, ENGT5145
  • MSc Mechatronics, MSc Electronic Engineering, MSc Mechanical Engineering, Project Supervision, ENGT5301.

Honours and awards

  • DSc in Automation and Robotics from Warsaw University of Technology, Poland , 1994,  awarded for the publication record and submitting and defending a special habilitation monograph
  • Honorary Professor from Harbin Institute of Technology, China, 1998, awarded for the international standing in water engineering area
  • ASCE 2011 Outstanding Reviewer, USA, 2012, awarded for thoroughness and helpfulness in reviewing submitted papers to ASCE journals.

Membership of external committees

  • EPSRC ‘Engineering Systems’ panel member and reviewer, reviewing 4 EPSRC proposals per year on average
  • Reviewer of EU FP7 programme
  • Member of Standing Committee for Water Distribution Systems Analysis (WDSA) international conferences (USA)
  • Member of Founding Committee for Conference on Computer Control in Water Industry (CCWI)
  • Funding member of the NetwercH2O network (EU)
  • External examiner for PhD at Sheffield and Exeter Universities
  • Reviewer for Finish Academy of Sciences
  • Reviewer for Czech Academy of Science
  • Member of Engineering Professors’ Council (EPC)

Membership of professional associations and societies

CEng, MIET since 1989

Forthcoming events

  • International Conference on Computer Control in Water Industry (CCWI) in Perugia, September 2013.
  • International Conference on Computer Control in Water Industry (CCWI) to be held at DMU in 2015.

Conference attendance

CCWI2011, Exeter, UK

  • Skworcow, P. and Ulanicki, B. “Burst Detection in Water Distribution Systems via Active Identification Procedure” In proceedings of the international CCWI20 conference, 5-7 September 2011, Exeter, UK.
  • Paluszczyszyn, D. Skworcow, P. and Ulanicki, B. ‘ Online Simplification of Water Distribution Network Models’ In proceedings of the international CCWI2011 conference, 5-7 September 2011, Exeter, UK. 

WDSA2012, Adelaide, Australia

  • Paluszczyszyn, D., Skworcow, P. Ulanicki, P., “A New Method of Modelling and Simulation of Water Networks with Discontinuous Control Elements, Proceedings of the 14th Water Distribution Systems Analysis Conference, 24–27 September 2012 Adelaide, Australia.
  • Ulanicki, B., Strzelecka, A., Skworcow, P. and Janus, T. ‘Developing Scenarios for Future Utility Provision’, In Proceedings of the 14th Water Distribution Systems Analysis Conference, 24–27 September 2012 Adelaide, Australia.

Consultancy work

  • Burst Detection and Leakage Management, (2009), Veolia -Three Valleys Water, industrial contract research project, project manager.
  • Development of Tools to Enhance Burst Detection Process, (2012, 2013), Affinity Water (former Veolia Water), industrial contract research project, co-investigator.
  • Pump scheduling case study, (2012, 2013), Affinity Water (former Veolia Water), industrial contract research project, co-investigator.

Current research students

1st supervisor:

  • Tomasz Janus, ‘Modelling of membrane bioreactors for wastewater treatment’
  • Aboajela Kajaman, ‘Modelling and Optimisation of a Novel Wastewater Treatment Process’
  • Daniel Paluszczyszyn, ‘Modelling, simulation and optimisation of water distribution system within hybrid systems framework’.

2nd supervisor

  • AnnaStrzelecka, ‘One Utility for Sustainable Communities: Modelling and Optimisation of Utility Service Provision’
  • MalleshBommanahal, ‘Unsteady nonlinear aerodynamic modelling using the Volterra series method’
  • EmmanuelUshie, ‘Novel catalyst in treatment of produced water from oil production’
  • Ihonre LeoAsuelimen, ‘Enhanced in-situ remediation of hydrocarbon contaminated soils by a novel fibrous catalyst’

Externally funded research grants information

  • ‘Delivering sustainable water systems by optimising existing infrastructure via improved knowledge, understanding and technology - project NEPTUNE’, EPSRC strategic partnership grant (EP/E003192/1), (2007-2010), co-investigator; academic collaborators: Cambridge University, Exeter University, Imperial College, Leicester University, Sheffield University; industrial collaborators: Yorkshire Water Services (YWS), ABB Ltd and United Utilities (UU).
  • ‘Modelling, simulation and optimisation of water distribution system within hybrid systems framework’, DTP – EPSRC, linked to the Neptune project, (2010-2013), PhD supervisor.
  • ‘Commercialisation of Membrane Bioreactor Wastewater Treatment Modelling Software’, Innovation and Regional Fellowship, (2009 – 2010), project manager.
  • ‘Feasibility Analysis of Supplying All Services Through One Utility Product’, EPSRC grant (EP/J005592/1), (2011-2013), co-investigator, collaborators: Cranfield University, Leicester University and Sheffield University.

Internally funded research project information

‘Real-time Management of Integrated Wastewater Systems’ Revolving Investment Fund (RIF) – first call, (2009), co-investigator.

Professional esteem indicators

Regular reviewer for the ASCE journals:

  • Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management
  • Journal of Hydraulic Engineering
  • Journal of Irrigation & Drainage Engineering

Regular reviewer for the IWA journal

  • Hydroinformatics

Case studies

The major impacts of Prof. Ulanicki’s Water Software Systems (WSS) team are:  

1) Application in industrial practice of the original automatic hydraulic model reduction method which enabled the solving of large scale optimisation problems.

2) Introduction by UK water companies of optimised operations of their water distribution systems using optimal scheduling algorithms developed by the WSS team.

The model reduction method shortened the simulation time of water distribution network models hundreds of times, and enabled the solution of many complex search problems. The method has been applied by the WSS group to many industrial projects in the area of optimal pump scheduling and optimal pressure control; Thames Water, (2001), Anglian Water (2006), Yorkshire Water (2009); United Utilities (2009) and Affinity Water (2009 to date). It has attracted a lot of interest from commercial companies, for example, it is used routinely by OptiWater in Israel (Elad Salomons) in their projects, and is part of the software developed to operate the Haifa Distribution System in Israel (2008 to date).

3) Practical application of general pressure control schemes for steady state and dynamic control by the UK water companies.

Water Software Systems has developed variety of pressure control schemes based on time and flow modulation. The methods were applied in numerous industrial case studies, for instance: ‘Optimal pressure control for the Surbiton Zone, (2001), Thames Water and in around 20 district metering areas (DMAs) in South Staffordshire Water, during EPSRC RAIS grant (GR/S14382), (2002 – 2003).

We have developed dynamic models for pressure control valves (PRVs) and different type of controllers. The controller developed by the Aquavent Company (Mark Lock) was modelled and tested by WSS which led to its improved performance and subsequent installation at different sites, for instance at Addenbrookes Cambridge University Hospital (2011), Royal United Hospital Bath NHS Trust (2012) andHMS Drake Fleet Maintenance Base, Davenport (2012).

4) Introduction of an efficient burst detection method developed by WSS as standard industrial practice by a UK water company. Richard Burd (richard.burd@veoliawater.co.uk), Asset Performance Specialist at Veolia Water in 2010:

“We are now rolling out PLaN (Pressure Loss across Networks) to 100 DMA's! This as you can imagine will involve improvements to the way we do things so that we can keep up with demand. So far we've had 100% success with the method. The first trial found 2 leaks and a school with flushing urinals at night oh and also a valve that was letting by, the second trial found 2 leaks, the third found 6 leaks and the last one found 10! So far every time we say go there they find a leak :-)”

Bogumil

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