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Math @ Duke





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Yunliang Yu, IT Senior Manager

Yunliang Yu

Open source is an investment in the future.

FDS Motto: we serve and empower the faculty.

Contact Info:
Office Location:  029D Physics
Office Phone:  (919) 660-2803
Email Address:   send me a message
Web Page:   http://www.math.duke.edu/~yu

Office Hours:

12:01AM - 12:02AM every other day except today.
Not by appt :-)
Specialties:

Mathematics
Recent Publications

  1. Y. Yu, test 123 (March, 2010). [PNG, PDF]

Famous Sayings:
Your dream will come true, if you eat your soup.
    --- Angela Yu
Don't be a turkey; read a book.
    --- Christina Yu
Security = avoid "unexpected inputs for unintended results".
    --- moi
Attitude is half reality.
    --- me?
To learn and practice what is learned from time to time is pleasure, is it not? To have friends from afar is happiness, is it not? To be unperturbed when not appreciated by others is a gentleman, is it not?
    --- Kungfu Zi
Better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.
    --- Chinese Proverb

mathprograms.org, academicjobsonline.org, mathjobs.org, ShortURLs, sharedworkingplace.org, chinesecalligraphyandwoodcarving.

/. headline news :-)

  • NSO Group Keeping Owners 'in the Dark', Manager Says
    2022-05-09T14:00:00+00:00
    Israeli spyware company NSO Group has stonewalled questions over whether it is operating legally, according to consultants acting on behalf of the controversial company's owners. From a report: Berkeley Research Group, the US consultancy that was last year put in charge of the private equity fund that owns 70 per cent of NSO, has told EU lawmakers that its inquiries about NSO's "lawfulness" have been "ignored and/or frustrated by NSO Group's management team." Concerns remain about âoethe historical management of the NSO Group" and "possible ongoing activities in relation to which [BRG is] being kept in the dark," BRG's lawyers wrote in a letter to MEPs. BRG's complaint is a further escalation of the controversy surrounding NSO, which was once a highly prized asset that Israel used as a diplomatic calling card, but is now facing lawsuits from Meta and Apple and has been blacklisted by the US. NSO's Pegasus software can infiltrate a smartphone and mirror its encrypted contents. It was last year found to have been used to target smartphones belonging to 37 journalists, human rights activists and other prominent figures.

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • Layoffs and a Silicon Valley Sell-Off Create Shaky Low-Valued 'Unicorn Zombies'
    2022-05-09T11:34:00+00:00
    "After years of sky-high valuations, Silicon Valley is engulfed in its worst sell-off since the 2008 stock market crash," reports NBC News. On Twitter, VC David Sacks (a former PayPal executive) even says investor sentiment in Silicon Valley is the worst since the late 1990s dotcom crash. After a pandemic-fueled boom sent tech names soaring, many of those businesses have seen the worst six months of their lives as publicly traded companies. Peloton, the exercise startup, is emblematic of this ominous reality: Its shares have cratered from a high of $163 at the end of 2020 to about $17.... Firms that had scored headlines in the past 18 months for raising millions of dollars to achieve billion-dollar "unicorn" valuations have announced layoffs. They include the celebrity video-clip company Cameo; the stock market trading app Robinhood; Thrasio, which buys and sells third-party brands on Amazon; and the employment group Workrise. Some people have begun to use the phrase "zombie unicorns" to refer to highly valued but shaky startups that might need new investors to rescue them. "A lot of this is about companies that never thought the VC gravy train would slow," Dan Primack, a widely read tech and finance columnist for Axios, wrote this week. The massive markdown is causing some observers to pause and reflect on the current state of tech. The mood has shifted: Our economic environment is less certain, and the ground on which the tech landscape stood is beginning to look, as tech executive and venture capitalist Dan Rose called it in a tweet, like an "abyss." NBC notes that early-stage tech companies "aren't profitable, relying instead on VC investments to cover expenses while they focus on rapid growth." And tech investor Zach Coelius tells NBC that while there had been an abundance of investors — and low interest rates — our current downturn in consumer demand (and the economy) coincides with an end to that explosion in funding. "Almost all the major public tech companies missed their numbers, and when that happens, the tide can turn really aggressively."

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • NASA Releases New Black Hole Visualizations - and Sonifications - as Astronomers Study X-Ray Echoes
    2022-05-09T07:34:00+00:00
    NASA has released some surprisingly colorful visualization of black holes. Digital Trends explains their origins: We're coming to the end of Black Hole Week, NASA's celebration of the beastly cosmic monsters which suck in light, matter, and everything else that comes too close to them.... As part of the festivities, the media department at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center has shared a selection of some of the best visualizations of black holes, so you can get an idea of what these mind-bending phenomena are like. The images, which are also available as desktop and mobile wallpapers should you wish to decorate your devices with black hole imagery, show simulations and visualizations created to try and picture what the weird effects of the extreme gravitational forces around a black hole would be. NASA describes this as "translating the inherently digital data (in the form of ones and zeroes) captured by telescopes in space into images, [creating] visual representations of what would otherwise be invisible to us." "But what about experiencing these data with other senses, like hearing? "Sonification is the process that translates data into sound. Our new project brings parts of our Milky Way galaxy, and of the greater Universe beyond it, to listeners for the first time." And elsewhere, CNN reports astronomers used the unique X-ray echoes released by rare "binary" black hole-star systems to identify six more such systems. (Only two were known previously.) And then converted their data into sound waves. The team tracked changes in the X-ray echoes, determined time lags during transition stages and traced commonalities in the evolution of each black hole outburst. The result sounds like something from a 1950s sci-fi film.

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • Oracle Java Popularity Sliding, Reports New Relic
    2022-05-09T04:34:00+00:00
    InfoWorld reports that "While still the industry's leading Java distribution, Oracle Java's popularity is half what it was just two years ago, according to a report from application monitoring company New Relic." (With the usual caveat that data from New Relic's report "was drawn entirely from applications reporting to New Relic in January 2022 and does not provide a global picture of Java usage,") The finding was included the company's 2022 State of the Java Ecosystem report, released April 26, which is based on data culled from millions of applications providing performance data to New Relic. Among Java Development Kit (JDK) distributions, Oracle had roughly 75% of the market in 2020, but just 34.48% in 2022, New Relic reported. Not far behind was Amazon, at 22.04%, up from 2.18% in 2020. New Relic said its numbers show movement away from Oracle binaries after the company's "more restrictive licensing" of its JDK 11 distribution before returning to a more open stance with JDK 17, released in September 2021. Behind Oracle and Amazon were Eclipse Adoptium (11.48%), Azul Systems (8.17%), Red Hat (6.05%), IcedTea (5.38%), Ubuntu (2.91%), and BellSoft (2.5%).

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • Mining Capital Coin CEO Indicted for Allegedly Running a Cryptocurrency Pyramid Scheme
    2022-05-09T03:04:00+00:00
    American's Justice Department announced Friday that the CEO of Mining Capital Coin, "a purported cryptocurrency mining and investment platform," has been indicted "for allegedly orchestrating a $62 million global investment fraud scheme." CNN reports: According to a US Securities and Exchange Commission complaint filed last month, Capuci sold mining packages to more than 65,000 investors since at least January 2018. The group promised daily returns of 1% for up to a year, the SEC press release says. [Capuci apparently said that revenue stabilized the company's cryptocurrency, Capital Coin, according to the DOJ's sttement.] But instead, the DOJ alleges, Capuci diverted the funds to his own cryptocurrency wallets. MCC netted at least $8.1 million from the sale of the mining packages and $3.2 million in initiation fees, which funded a lavish lifestyle, including Lamborghinis, a yacht and real estate, according to the SEC complaint.... The release alleges another fraudulent MCC investment avenue, "Trading Bots," which Capuci claimed operated at "very high frequency, being able to do thousands of trades per second." Capuci claimed the Trading Bots would provide daily returns, according to the DOJ release. ["But instead was diverting the funds to himself and co-conspirators."] Capuci also allegedly ran a pyramid scheme, according to the DOJ, recruiting promoters to sell the mining packages and promising them gifts ranging from Apple watches to Capuci's personal Ferrari, the press release says. ["Capuci further concealed the location and control of the fraud proceeds obtained from investors by laundering the funds internationally through various foreign-based cryptocurrency exchanges."] The DOJ charged Capuci with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, conspiracy to commit securities fraud, and conspiracy to commit international money laundering. He could face up to 45 years in prison if convicted of all counts. One U.S. attorney warned in the statement, "As with any emerging market, those who invest in cryptocurrency must beware of profit-making opportunities that appear too good to be true." The statement also argues that cryptocurrency-based fraud "undermines financial markets worldwide, as bad actors defraud investors, and limits the ability of legitimate entrepreneurs to innovate within this emerging space." Thanks to Slashdot reader quonset for sharing the story!

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • Cryptocurrency Markets Drop $200B, Bitcoin Down 50% Since November
    2022-05-09T01:34:00+00:00
    40 days ago Bitcoin sold for $47,454. It's price now is $34,007 — a drop of 28%. About a third of that drop happened this week, as "Bitcoin, ethereum and other major cryptocurrencies have fallen sharply," Forbes reports, "wiping around $200 billion from the crypto market in just a matter of days (though some fear the bitcoin price could fall far further)." Bitcoin is now at its lowest prince since last July, "in the aftermath of the Federal Reserve's biggest interest rate hike in years". Ethereum and other top ten luna, solana, cardano and avalanche are also struggling with market sentiment falling to lows not seen since January.... Smaller cryptocurrencies that have outpaced the likes of bitcoin and ethereum in recent months have fallen harder during this latest crash. "The future of individual coins or tokens remains dubious, the law remains in control of such solicitations and the approval of social media giants such as Elon Musk," added Tammy Da Costa, an analyst at DailyFX. CNBC notes the drop occurred "after a broader stock sell-off in the U.S. last week," but points out that bitcoin "is now down 50% from its peak price of $67,802.30 in November 2021."

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • McEnroe vs. McEnroe: Tennis Legend Plays Against AI-Powered Avatars of Himself
    2022-05-08T23:13:00+00:00
    A special ESPN+ show Saturday brought back John McEnroe "to face his ultimate opponent. Himself." TechCrunch reports: The 45-minute film will showcase how the match was created using a combination of artificial intelligence and machine learning, plus five virtual avatars of John McEnroe from pivotal points of his career. The team at [technology/production company] Unit 9 spent a day with John in order to bring the vision to life via full-body scanning, motion capture and Unreal Engine MetaHuman technology (a cloud-based app that creates photorealistic digital humans). The avatar game system will be projected on a hologram particle screen and will be a simulation of gameplay with a system of ball launchers and ball return robots. When McEnroe sends the ball over the net, the avatar responds to the direction of the real ball. As the avatar swings, a new ball is fired from the ball cannon and then flies through a smokescreen at a precise point in space to make it appear from the avatar's racket position.... Unit 9's team analyzed hours of footage from John's matches throughout his entire career and recorded hundreds of shots, strokes and movements. In total, they recorded 308 shots with over 259 loops and blends to really capture his footwork and well-known shot-making and volleying skills. The best part about this is the team recorded numerous key phrases and statements so McEnroe could talk smack to his virtual self (and maybe even smash a couple of rackets). As McEnroe himself pointed out to Forbes.... "I can't lose." But he also sounds like he enjoyed the experience: The most interesting recreation of his playing style to him is the 1979 version of him because professional tennis was all so new to him at the time. "That was the year I may have enjoyed the most on the circuit," he says, "I was just coming up, and on the way up and you are so excited and want to travel the world." From there, he thinks the 1992 version of himself will offer the other end of his career, after having three kids. He knows that 1984 was the best year on tour, but "I have more interest in the young and old opposed to (1984)." McEnroe also wanted the sport of tennis to get extra exposure — and that it would be good "If we have a way where we project something different and have some fun with it and peoples can laugh with it..." Or, as AdWeek quotes McEnroe as saying, "Who wouldn't want an opportunity to literally be able to look back at where you started and celebrate how much you've grown and learned along the way?"

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • Scientists Try Injecting Tumor-Fighting Viruses Coated in Magnets Made By Soil Bacteria
    2022-05-08T22:08:00+00:00
    To attack tumors, the Guardian reports, "scientists are developing magnetically guided microscopic projectiles that can be injected into patients' blood." The project — led by researchers at Sheffield University — builds on progress in two key medical fields. The first involves viruses that specifically attack tumours.... After infection with an oncolytic virus, a cancer cell will burst open and die. The US Food and Drug Administration has already approved the use of T-Vec, a modified herpes simplex virus that infects and kills tumour cells and is now being used to treat people with certain types of melanoma, a skin cancer. Unfortunately, the viruses soon get attacked by the body's immune system. So the scientists want to coat the viruses with magnetic particles, so that magnets (outside a patient's body) can quickly guide those viruses where they're needed. And to accomplish this they're using a soil bacteria which is known to make magnets to align with Earth's own magnetic field. "The essence of this approach is straightforward," one of the project's leaders explains to the Guardian. "We are using bugs as drugs.... we have found bacteria do a better job of manufacturing them than we could." Having developed the technology, the Sheffield team is now working to ensure they can manufacture sufficient supplies so that clinical trials on humans can begin soon. To date, trials have focused on animal models. "These early tests have been very encouraging and we now need to take the next steps to bring this technique to a state where it can be administered to humans — hopefully in a few years' time." Thanks to Slashdot reader Falconhell for sharing the article!

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • Got a Coupon For That College Course? Marketing Gimmicks Come To Higher Ed
    2022-05-08T21:02:00+00:00
    "A decade ago, it would have been hard to imagine a college handing out coupons or running limited-time offers," notes the education site EdSurge. "College was something you applied to get into, and entered with a seriousness of intent to complete." But now, writes long-time Slashdot reader jyosim.... As online education has become mainstream, new providers have moved to the same marketing tactics as selling any widget. Especially upstart providers like Udemy, Coursera and edX. In some cases the courses are offered by well-known universities partnering with those companies. Students sometimes buy courses when they're on sale intending to take them, but then never get around to it. It's the academic equivalent of signing up for a gym membership in January in the burst of new-year's-resolution optimism and then rarely going to work out. Udemy's algorithm "favors courses with more students," points out EdSurge, "so professors have an incentive to encourage bulk registration" (during periods when courses are free or discounted). And the stakes are high. 19 instructors made more than $1 million last year, Udemy's CEO notes. And a result of this competion, he adds, is that a whopping 63% of their top 1,800 courses had been updated in just the last 90 days — "to make the content better and better over time so they get more views and they make more money." EdSurge adds: To some academics, the trend is a long-predicted impact of commodifying higher education that will lead students to view college as less about a relationship with an instructor and more about the attainment of a fixed set of knowledge for as low a price as possible... Online education has brought new marketing practices that emphasize the student as a customer. Whether that ends up helping accessibility (through lower prices) or diminishing quality and how seriously students take the learning process, or a mix of both, is still up for debate.

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • Apple's Return-to-Office Policy Leaves Many Workers Unhappy, AI Expert Quits
    2022-05-08T20:01:00+00:00
    Apple's director of machine learning, Ian Goodfellow, "is leaving the company due to its return to work policy," reports a tech reporter for the Verge. "In a note to staff, he said 'I believe strongly that more flexibility would have been the best policy for my team.'" 9to5Mac notes that Apple "poached Goodfellow from Google back in 2019 to join its 'Special Projects Group' as the director of machine learning." Apple employees started returning to in-person work on April 11 following a two-year stint of remote work brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic... At first, the company required employees to work in person at least one day per week. On May 4, the company ramped that up to two days per week in the office. Starting on May 23, employees will need to be in the office three days per week. This is the start of Apple's so-called "hybrid" work plan, which will require employees to work from the office on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday every week.... Goodfellow's former employer Google mandated that some teams return to in-person work starting last month, but many employees are able to permanently work from home. Discontent with that policy is widespread, reports Fortune: Seventy-six percent of Apple workers surveyed said they were dissatisfied with Apple's return-to-office policy that was implemented after the COVID pandemic started waning. The survey, conducted by anonymous social network Blind, collected answers from 652 Apple employees from April 13 to April 19.... Accustomed to no commute, they're now balking at having to return to the office and say they will seek jobs at other tech companies that offer more flexible work arrangements. A sizable number of workers — 56% — claimed they are looking to leave Apple expressly because of its office requirement. It's unclear how many actually will carry through.... Blind's users are "overwhelmingly corporate workers in engineering or product roles," according to Rick Chen, director of public relations at Blind. More action might be expected after May 23 when the pilot plan for hybrid work comes into full effect. Another worker stated: "Apple is going to see attrition like no other come June. 60% of my team doesn't even live near the office. They are not returning. "

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • Doctor Who's 14th Time Lord Announced for 60th-Anniversary Season
    2022-05-08T18:34:00+00:00
    Doctor Who's newest incarnation has been announced. Replacing Jodie Whittaker — and becoming the 14th Doctor Who — is 29-year-old Netflix star Ncuti Gatwa. (In 2020 the Scottish branch of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts awarded him the prestigious "Best Actor in Television" award for work on the Netflix series Sex Education.) Fun fact: he also voiced the lead driver in Electronic Arts' racing videogame Grid Legends, according to Wikipedia. In a BBC press release, he described himself as "a mix of deeply honoured, beyond excited and of course a little bit scared" to take over the long-running part of the TARDIS-traveling Time Lord, according to CNN. "This role and show means so much to so many around the world, including myself, and each one of my incredibly talented predecessors has handled that unique responsibility and privilege with the utmost care. I will endeavour my utmost to do the same." "Doctor Who" showrunner Russell T Davies said in the press release: "Sometimes talent walks through the door and it's so bright and bold and brilliant, I just stand back in awe and thank my lucky stars. "Ncuti dazzled us, seized hold of the Doctor and owned those TARDIS keys in seconds." Gatwa joins the long-running sci-fi series — which follows an alien Time Lord who travels across space and time — ahead of its 60th anniversary in 2023.

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • (Mostly) Open Source SteamOS Forked into Homegrown ISO For Other Machines
    2022-05-08T17:34:00+00:00
    "While Valve has yet to actually release a proper ISO for SteamOS 3 used on the Steam Deck, others have been taking it into their own hands to provide," reports GamingOnLinux, "like with the new HoloISO. "This is possible, since 99% of what SteamOS uses is open source (not the Steam client though)..." So people can easily hack away at it to do whatever they want. [HoloISO] is not exactly the same as SteamOS 3 but it's probably the closest I've seen yet, with the main packages coming direct from Valve with "zero possible edits" the developer says. It's described as a "first beta release." Neowin supplies some context: Back in early March, Valve released the Steam Deck recovery image for Deck users who need to get back to a factory state. When it was released, many of us over at the Steam OS subreddit did the first thing any reasonable enthusiast would do and tried installing it on a standard PC. The results of this approach were mixed, and only partial successes were achieved. Then HoloISO happened.... The first release, called 'Ground Zero', was released today and allows users to install Steam OS on any machine. But there are some things you need to know before installing this for yourself.... There's a bunch of caveats, but the article still concludes that "If you're team red and you want to give this a shot, head over to the project's Github page to read more and download." Thanks to Slashdot reader segaboy81 for sharing the story!

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • Amazon Fired Six Managers After Union Vote - but Large Shareholders Plan Confrontation with Board
    2022-05-08T16:34:00+00:00
    "Amazon has reportedly fired over half a dozen senior managers who were involved in a New York warehouse union," reports the Guardian, noting that the firings happened shortly after the Staten Island warehouse successfully voted to union, and that they occurred "outside the company's employee review cycle." And while an Amazon spokesman attributed the move to the company's culture of continual improvement, the Guardian also notes that "Most of the managers who were fired were responsible for carrying out Amazon's response to the unionization efforts, the New York Times reported." This week Amazon did defeat a second warehouse's unionization vote. But Salon reports that "In a potentially far more significant development, a coalition of the nation's largest public pension funds, with billions of dollars in Amazon stock, is urging shareholders to take the battle to Amazon's corporate suite." [T]he coalition of large public pension funds is urging shareholders to confront Amazon's corporate leadership by voting out a pair of board directors who oversee Amazon's workplace and compensation policies at the upcoming May 25 shareholder meeting.... The national effort is being led by New York City Comptroller Brad Lander and New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, a pair of Democratic elected officials who preside over hundreds of billions in public pensions funds. The New York City Retirement System and New York State Common Retirement Fund hold 1.7 million shares of Amazon stock valued at approximately $5.3 billion. At an April 21 conference at the Harvard Club in Manhattan, several other elected state treasurers from around the country committed to joining in the effort.... According to the organizers of the Harvard Club pension fund event, the officials in attendance were collectively responsible for managing $2 trillion in investments.

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • Russia Hit With 'Unprecedented' Breaches By Pro-Ukrainian Cyberattackers
    2022-05-08T15:34:00+00:00
    This week the Washington Post described Russia as "struggling under an unprecedented hacking wave" — with one survey finding Russia is now the world's leader for leaked sensitive data (such as passwords and email addresses). "Federation government: your lack of honor and blatant war crimes have earned you a special prize..." read a message left behind on one of the breached networks... Documents were stolen from Russia's media regulator and 20 years of email from one of Russia's government-owned TV/radio broadcasting companies. Ukraine's government is even suggesting targets through its "IT Army" channel on telegram, and has apparently distributed the names of hundreds of Russia's own FSB security agents. And meanwhile, the Post adds, "Ordinary criminals with no ideological stake in the conflict have also gotten in on the act, taking advantage of preoccupied security teams to grab money as the aura of invincibility falls, researchers said." Soon after the invasion, one of the most ferocious ransomware gangs, Conti, declared that it would rally to protect Russian interests in cyberspace. The pledge backfired in a spectacular fashion, since like many Russian-speaking crime groups it had affiliates in Ukraine. One of them then posted more than 100,000 internal gang chats, and later the source code for its core program, making it easier for security software to detect and block attacks. Network Battalion 65 [a small hacktivist group formed as the war began looking inevitable] went further. It modified the leaked version of the Conti code to evade the new detections, improved the encryption and then used it to lock up files inside government-connected Russian companies. "We decided it would be best to give Russia a taste of its own medicine. Conti caused (and still causes) a lot of heartache and pain for companies all around the world," the group said. "As soon as Russia ends this stupidity in Ukraine, we will stop our attacks completely." In the meantime, Network Battalion 65 has asked for ransomware payments even as it has shamed victims on Twitter for having poor security. The group said it hasn't gotten any money yet but would donate anything it collects to Ukraine. Ars Technica quotes a cybersecurity researcher who now says "there are tens of terabytes of data that's just falling out of the sky." Thanks to long-time Slashdot reader SpzToid for sharing the article!

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

  • GNOME Patent Troll Gets Stripped of Patent Rights
    2022-05-08T14:34:00+00:00
    An anonymous Slashdot reader writes: Remember that patent lawsuit filed against GNOME's Shotwell in 2019? An enterprising open source lawyer has challenged it within the patent office and gotten the whole thing canceled! OpenSource.org argues that decision by the U.S. patent office "may well give patent trolls cause to steer clear of open source projects — even more than the fierce resistance the community impressively funded and mounted in the GNOME case." Of the many methods developed over the past 20 years to eliminate patent threats against FOSS, none is as powerful as challenging the nefarious patents directly. That's what McCoy Smith, founder of OSI sponsor LexPan Law, did.... Smith pointed out in a re-examination request to the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office that the patent was not for any new invention. They agreed. As a result, all of these "claims" in the Rothschild '086 Patent — the part of a patent describing what the patent rights cover — have consequently been canceled. The Rothschild '086 patent can no longer be used against any victim, including open source projects. Of course, that's little comfort to the 20+ victims attacked after GNOME with the now-proven-worthless Rothschild '086 patent, or the 50+ companies targeted with related patents that haven't yet been re-examined.... Still, it's good to know there are open source champions of all sizes defending the development of open software.

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

 

dept@math.duke.edu
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Mathematics Department
Duke University, Box 90320
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