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'[EE] Engineering students across the world'
2005\08\28@224838 by Chen Xiao Fan

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I am not so sure about the correct tag for this but I decide
to use EE tag instead of OT tag.

I've met engineering students from different countries during my work
in Singapore and my TA days in USA. So far I rate European students
(I have met students from Italy, Germany and France) the highest. They
have the best theory background and quite okay practical knowledge
and they are devoted to Engineering as well.

After that I will rate students from India and China as the second
best. They generally have very good theory background but sometimes
the practical skills are a bit lacking (maybe due to the constraint of
the university budget). They also tend to choose subjects of market
potential and not their own interests. That may be a problem in the
highest level of study. Of the two, India students are better in
English and communication so that they have some advantages in the
States. Still Chinese students are catching up in this front as well.
In fact, I think they put too much efforts in English than they
should now. Quite some of them can get good grades in GRE which has
the most difficult English words even native speakers will not
understand or differentiate.

Singapore students have very good practical skills but the theory
background are not as strong. So the R+D here is not so strong as
a result but the government is changing that by learning from US and
China/India.

USA students tend to choose the subject of study by their own
interests. So they have a few very talented and the best scientists and
engineers in the world. They also have the advantages of getting the
best textbooks and the best professors and TAs (I consider myself a very
good TA :)). However the number is not that high and the reason may be
because a talkative layers earns much more and engineering is not
so easy with their poor maths. :) Therefore I see a large number of
incompetent engineering students in a top 50 US public university. I
do not know how they are going to work since they do not even know
how to connect two 0-30V power supply into 40V and they are 4th year
senior Engineering students. Here I am talking about the new generation.
The old generation may be totally different and I know that from
my study and I can see it from the list as well. Of course the
young engineers in this list must be better than most of the
students in my class.

Japanese students are a bit different. I only met a few shy ones so
I am not so sure. Their English tends to be not as good but they
seem to be very devoted and hard working. Their theoretical background
also seem to be quite good.

I have not met enough Australian/NZ (Kiwi?)/Latin
American/African/Russian/...
engineering students to have my judgment. I may be totally wrong as well.
So comments are welcome.

Regards,
Xiaofan

2005\08\29@010507 by Mario Mendes Jr.

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I'm originally from Brazil, but live in the US now.  This is about my
own experience and have I have come to see the 2.

In Brazil there are only a few public colleges and universities and the
private ones are extremely expensive.  It is also not easy to apply for
financial aid.  Those that do qualify for it is because their families
are well off and therefore have the financial backing for a loan to pay
for school.  The great majority have to compete for very few seats in
the public schools every year.  In the US, we have the SAT tests, which
don't exactly "grade" you, but gives the schools sort of a "feeling"
about your aptitude.  In Brazil, students study really hard for an
entire year or two, even going to after school courses with the intent
of review/relearn and sharpen their knowledge and then take placements
tests, which unlike the SAT in the US, are usually geared towards your
course of study.  In the end, there are tens of thousands of students
taking the placement tests for the schools they applied to, but the top
few thousand end up getting in, and the rest has to try again for the
next term.

Materials in Brazil happen to cost a lot too (depending on what it is it
may actually cost less than in the US, but the cost of living is higher
and the pay is just not all there), so the equipment available at the
schools may not be plentiful and tends to be somewhat outdated.  Because
of this, theory and understanding turns out to be the strong side of
Brazil's schooling.  Tests tend to be very analytical too with lots of
essay type questions.  Of course there are the "given the circuit below,
what is the gain of stage B", but tests then do have a lot of the "what
is this circuit for and explain how and why it works".

In my line of work, I'm a SQL Server DBA, I see a lot of the opposite of
the above.  I frequently interview people that have just come out of
school that when asked what they studied can easily give you a long list
of things they played with in school, but it is rare to interview
someone that can explain correctly how and why something works the way
it does.  I think that getting hands on experience is very important,
but I feel that today the theory and understanding part seems be lacking
quite a bit, and I don't know why that is.  Someone once tried to
explain to me that it is because technology just changes a lot faster
today than it did 20 years ago, and therefore in order to cram more into
the same period of time in school, you end up spending less time with
the particulars of a subject.  My own view is that students just aren't
being challenged enough these days, it is just a "here's the course
work, the dates of the tests and here is the list of things that you'll
be tested on."

-Mario



{Original Message removed}

2005\08\29@010831 by Ravi

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> After that I will rate students from India and China as the second
> best. They generally have very good theory background but sometimes

Good theory background because they have to pass the stereotype exams.

> the practical skills are a bit lacking (maybe due to the constraint of
> the university budget).

It is not to do with budget. The syllabus is to be blamed. The syllabus is
theory oriented and practicals are mostly basics. For their final year
projects, the most students get it done by professionals by paying them
since the lecturers themselves cannot guide for they themselves have no
practical experience. Some students who have the aptitude do the projects on
their own and take guidance from professionals.

> They also tend to choose subjects of market
> potential and not their own interests. That may be a problem in the
> highest level of study.

There are set combination of subjects and the students have to choose any of
the combination  but have no choice is individual subjects.

> Of the two, India students are better in English and communication so
> that they have some advantages in the States.

We study english from the age of 5.

Cheers

Ravi

2005\08\29@154422 by Terry Chen

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Wow, I am surprised USA engineering student is ranked so low...
I guess that means trouble in the future for the ppl like me.


UIUC student
Terry

2005\08\29@160510 by James Humes

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As a recent grad from the USA, I'll say: There are always exceptions. If you don't set your standards by the standards of your class requirements or by the standards of your classmates, and set them instead by your own capabilities, then the future is bright. I happen to LIKE this stuff, so I simply follow my whims to their manic conclusion and find that it puts me (well, when I was in school) miles ahead of my class. I call this setting my standards, but actually I'm just lucky to have a personal interest in the area.
James
 On 8/29/05, Terry Chen <spam_OUTterry.eugTakeThisOuTspamgmail.com> wrote:
>
> Wow, I am surprised USA engineering student is ranked so low...
> I guess that means trouble in the future for the ppl like me.
>
>
> UIUC student
> Terry
>

2005\08\29@184259 by Sean Schouten

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The only real way to absolute progress when it comes to bettering ones self, is by bettering your self in relation to your self. Take a look at what your current standards are, learn from their flaws and use that knowledge to set new standards. Bettering your self in relation to another person does not necessarily mean that you're making any headway. It would be the same as findingout if a baby has grown by comparing it to another baby... I started off the propper way, but started to slack once I reverted back to comparing my self to class-mate, which is a bad thing.

Sean.

2005\08\29@201316 by Chen Xiao Fan

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No need to worry. UIUC is quite a good university. Then again
one needs to set up higher standard than just to get a "C".

There are lousy students in universities like UC Berkley as well
(since it is a public university and the entrance requirement
is not so high) but they have certainly many best students in
the world. Another thing is that ASIAN American students (like you)
work quite hard and normally set their standards higher.

Private university like RPI has very good students as well
since there are not much place to go in Troy and the
course load is really heavy. Even I do not like my PhD advisor
there and quit, I still rate the undergraduate education
there very high.

(**** personal complains *****)
Sadly I met a Chinese advisor who has not got his tenure, said
to be the worst types of advisors to work with (combination of
type 1 and type 3).

Type 1: advisors from mainland China/Taiwan/Japan/India/...
Type 2: female
Type 3: Those who have not got their tenure

The best advisors to work with are those from USA or other western
countries and are well established (professors) and yet still
love supervising.

As long as you are devoted to engineering, your future is very
bright, at least brighter than I, a poor engineer. :)
(**** end of personal complains *****)

US has the best hi-tech industries and the best talents from all over
the world. Even there are strong competition from countries like
China and India, the talents pool will still make US the strongest
country in this century. One example, Tsinghua University is the
top engineering university in China. Now about 1/3 to 1/2 of the
top undergraduate student and postgraduate students go to US after
graduation. So they have one of the best undergraduates and master
students in the world but the PhD students are 2nd class. This
may be true for Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), the top
engineering universities in India (the percentage can be lower).

Of course US may need to loosen their rigid immigration policy
(H1 and green card application) and their prejudice towards
Chinese students in Visa application. Indian students get 5 years
of stay in US and Chinese students get 6 months for their
visa (and they need to reapply the visa once they go back home
and want to re-enter USA). I see a trend that top Chinese
students are less inclined to go to USA now.

Sorry this may be OT already.

Regards,
Xiaofan

-----Original Message-----
From: Terry Chen [.....terry.eugKILLspamspam@spam@gmail.com]
Sent: Tuesday, August 30, 2005 3:44 AM
To: Microcontroller discussion list - Public.
Subject: Re: [EE] Engineering students across the world


Wow, I am surprised USA engineering student is ranked so low...
I guess that means trouble in the future for the ppl like me.


UIUC student
Terry

2005\08\29@204850 by Marcel Duchamp

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Chen Xiao Fan wrote:
> Sorry this may be OT already.
>
> Regards,
> Xiaofan

Yes, it probably should per the list rules.  But it is very interesting
to me.

Your comments and Ravi's comments are very "grassroots".  By this, I
mean that it explains to us how the "person on the street" feels about
these topics.  At least on the "engineering street" in various countries
around the planet.  We don't get anything like this on the six o'clock
news.  The mainstream media in the US almost *never* conveys this type
of information.

2005\08\29@211233 by Vic Fraenckel

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>The mainstream media in the US almost *never* conveys this type of information

P.I. (politically incorrect) comment:

The mainstream media in the US NEVER conveys any type of information.

Vic
________________________________________________________

Victor Fraenckel - The Windman         victorf ATSIGN windreader DOTcom
KC2GUI

2005\08\29@211800 by Bob Barr

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On Tue, 30 Aug 2005 08:13:11 +0800, Chen Xiao Fan wrote:

>
>There are lousy students in universities like UC Berkley as well
>(since it is a public university and the entrance requirement
>is not so high) but they have certainly many best students in
>the world. Another thing is that ASIAN American students (like you)
>work quite hard and normally set their standards higher.
>

I'd have to disagree on that point.

Yes, UC Berkeley is a public (i.e. it's state-subsidized) but it gets
many thousands more applicants than it can possibly admit. Competition
to get an acceptance (particularly into the engineering programs) is
intense.


Regards, Bob

2005\08\29@215726 by William Chops Westfield

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On Aug 29, 2005, at 5:50 PM, Marcel Duchamp wrote:

> The mainstream media in the US almost *never* conveys
> this type of information.
>
The trade journals are quite full of various opinions about the
shortage of engineering/science majors, the appropriateness of
educational programs for the careers they are supposedly aimed at,
and the shortage of people willing to follow the path that will
lead them to be professors of engineering.  They often contradict
one another, and few offer suggestions for a solution...

The american educational system seems (to me) very steeped in liberal
ideas about 'freedom of choice', and provides more of an array of
"choices" for people to pursue, rather than identifying which people
are most suitable for which sorts of careers.  This is in contrast
with what I've heard or read about other countries...

Students tend to follow the money or the glory.  People tagged as
"smart" in primary schools are pretty expected to aim at either
medicine or law as careers.  Shucks, engineers from "good" colleges
seem to be expected to end up in upper management :-(

Is the USA system better?  I don't know.  "at what?" is the question
that springs to mind.

BillW

2005\08\29@220610 by Chen Xiao Fan

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Sorry but I happened to meet two UCB EE students I considered
as not up to the fame of UCB. I know large number of students
in UCB are excellent. My point is that even good universities
can produce not-so-good students and not-so-good universities
can produce top students as well. So one should not be
discouraged by the fact of not being able to admitted to a
good university or even not being able to be admitted to
a university at all.

Regards,
Xiaofan

-----Original Message-----
From: Bob Barr [bbarrspamKILLspamcalifornia.com]
Sent: Tuesday, August 30, 2005 9:18 AM
To: Microcontroller discussion list - Public.
Subject: Re: [EE] Engineering students across the world

I'd have to disagree on that point.

Yes, UC Berkeley is a public (i.e. it's state-subsidized) but it gets
many thousands more applicants than it can possibly admit. Competition
to get an acceptance (particularly into the engineering programs) is
intense.


Regards, Bob


2005\08\29@221247 by Spehro Pefhany

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>
>Is the USA system better?  I don't know.  "at what?" is the question
>that springs to mind.

I've read that China is graduating more engineers *per capita* than
the US. Some of them are pretty impressive (a friend is a recent immigrant
from the mainland - she designed missile systems, but quickly made the
transition to designing polymer machinery).

Like or not, a lot of the electronics industry in the US and other countries
(UK, France, Italy, especially) is related to the arms industry.

>Best regards,

Spehro Pefhany --"it's the network..."            "The Journey is the reward"
.....speffKILLspamspam.....interlog.com             Info for manufacturers: http://www.trexon.com
Embedded software/hardware/analog  Info for designers:  http://www.speff.com
->> Inexpensive test equipment & parts http://search.ebay.com/_W0QQsassZspeff


2005\08\29@222550 by William Chops Westfield

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On Aug 29, 2005, at 7:06 PM, Chen Xiao Fan wrote:

> Sorry but I happened to meet two UCB EE students I considered
> as not up to the fame of UCB.  ... My point is that even good
> universities can produce not-so-good students and not-so-good
> universities can produce top students as well.

But that is not at all what you said:

> There are lousy students in universities like UC Berkley as well
> (since it is a public university and the entrance requirement
> is not so high)
>
UCB (and other universities) produce "not-so-good" engineers IN
SPITE of having high entrance requirements, not because they have
low entrance requirements.  Competition to get into UCB is particularly
fierce because it is comparatively inexpensive compared to private
schools.)

BillW

2005\08\30@033042 by Russell McMahon

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>>The mainstream media in the US almost *never* conveys this type of
>>information

> P.I. (politically incorrect) comment:
> The mainstream media in the US NEVER conveys any type of
> information.

PI perhaps. Stupid certainly (I'm talking across the comment of course
:-) ).

For a PI comment, or indeed almost any comment, to be useful, it needs
to have a reasonable degree of factuality. Some times the object is to
be obstreperous rather than useful, in which case information content
can be lower. To suggest that there is no information in Us media
material is clearly non factual. If this is not evident you need to
seek help urgently :-). Often biased information, maybe. Often
incomplete information, maybe.  But by making a totally dismissive
assessment you risk being an example of what you seek to denigrate.


       RM

2005\08\30@033153 by Russell McMahon

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>> Sorry this may be OT already.

> Yes, it probably should per the list rules.  

No.
"Everything Engineering" applies.

       RM


'[EE] Engineering students across the world'
2005\09\11@021407 by Martin Klingensmith
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William Chops Westfield wrote:

>
> Students tend to follow the money or the glory.  People tagged as
> "smart" in primary schools are pretty expected to aim at either
> medicine or law as careers.  Shucks, engineers from "good" colleges
> seem to be expected to end up in upper management :-(
>
> Is the USA system better?  I don't know.  "at what?" is the question
> that springs to mind.
>
> BillW


I will be graduating with a BSEE in June 2006. I will NOT go into
management, I want to do design work. I am fairly certain that I will be
able to do just fine in design work without "moving up" into project
management.

I consider myself to have a lot of both theoretical and practical
experience. I have worked on many real projects as well as theoretical
practices. I do not believe I am common among what normally is produced
by my university [a statement which likely makes me look crass]

--
Martin Klingensmith
http://wwia.org/
http://nnytech.net/

2005\09\11@030140 by Jose Da Silva

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On September 10, 2005 11:13 pm, Martin Klingensmith wrote:
{Quote hidden}

Read this:
http://www.os2hq.com/articles/seven.htm
...then take a look around you if you work at a "big" firm/farm and note
how many people above X years work there.
...small firms aren't so discriminating.

2005\09\11@043505 by William Chops Westfield

face picon face

On Sep 10, 2005, at 11:13 PM, Martin Klingensmith wrote:

>> Shucks, engineers from "good" colleges
>> seem to be expected to end up in upper management :-(
>
> I will be graduating with a BSEE in June 2006. I will NOT go into
> management, I want to do design work. I am fairly certain that I
> will be able to do just fine in design work without "moving up"
> into project management.
>
Your career should last about 45 years.  Let us know how you're doing
in 10 or so.  Especially if you're looking at an employer without
"dual track" advancement ladders...

Cisco (where I work) has a dual-track program.  There are "individual
contributer" titles that are equivalent in pay and bonus scale to
first and second level mangers.  That seemed pretty good for quite
a while, until we got bigger and the number of levels of management
ABOVE 2nd level became larger.  Currently there are more people in
our phone book with "VP" (vice president) in their title than those
that have managed to become "distinguished engineers" or "cisco Fellows"
(those being the 2nd-level manager equivalents.  VP is 3rd level
manager,
and then there are SVP and then Chambers.  It's not bad, but it's not
great, either.  It looks to be a good 6 times easier to become a 2nd
level manager than the engineer equivalent thereof...)

BillW

2005\09\11@205230 by Chen Xiao Fan

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I am sure you belong to the better ones.

If you are still into power electronics, a Master or a PhD
will be very good option for you. Job prospect is very good
as far as I know, especially for those studying low power
stuff (SMPS control ICs, VRM, etc). For higher power stuffs,
maybe it is also good in the North East part of US (NY or
nearby).

Power electronics require lot of practical knowledge as well
as theoretical background. IEEE transactions of Power Electronics
will probably never accept one paper without experimental results.
That is totally different from other field. There are some
researchers from the control theory (or maths) side trying
to enter this field and their initial paper are full of
equations and fancy words but never got accepted. They
have to put the paper in IEEE Circuits and Systems. Some
of their values of really laughable. For example, inductance
of 1H, capacitance value of 1F for a 1W converter. ;)-

It is not so easy (and I quit, but not for purely academic
reasons) for PhD study though. Master is definitely a good choice.
UC Irvine and UC Berkeley have one-man show. University of
Colorado and Virginia Tech are good choice. VT has by far the
most comprehensive programs. There are some other university
offers good power electronics programs. Alternative energy and
power+Analog IC design are both good options.

Even though it looks quite mature now, actually there are
a lot of things not solved. I think power and RF will never
be obsolete in the analog electronics front.

Regards,
Xiaofan

{Original Message removed}

2005\09\12@014644 by Chen Xiao Fan

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I think things are even worse for ASIAN engineers. An engineer
(even a senior one) will normally earn less than a junior manages.
The principal engineer will only be equivalent to a Head of
Division here. So most of the engineers will probably try to be
a manager before the age of 40. If they can not be a manager
they will probably leave the engineering position before the
age of 40. It is also much more difficult to be independent
consultant here. Europe and USA must be better in this aspect.

It is also amazing to see so many VPs in US companies. At first
I think they are rare species but later I know that VPs got
retrenched at the same time or earlier than those below them. ;)-
CISCO Fellows or Intel Fellows must be really highly respectable.
I do not think Intel VPs and CISCO VPs are that highly respected.
I could be wrong though since I do not know any of them. ;)-

Regards,
Xiaofan

{Original Message removed}

2005\09\12@170448 by Martin Klingensmith

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Jose Da Silva wrote:

>Read this:
>http://www.os2hq.com/articles/seven.htm
>...then take a look around you if you work at a "big" firm/farm and note
>how many people above X years work there.
>...small firms aren't so discriminating.
>  
>
How true do you believe this is?
Do you think it's possible that the person who wrote it didn't keep up
with their field and lost track? I didn't see much real evidence [though
I'm not sure what that evidence would be].

--
Martin Klingensmith
http://wwia.org/
http://nnytech.net/

2005\09\13@000634 by William Chops Westfield

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On Sep 11, 2005, at 10:46 PM, Chen Xiao Fan wrote:

> I think things are even worse for ASIAN engineers.

You mean "engineers in Asia"?
>
> The principal engineer will only be equivalent to a Head of
> Division here.

How big is "head of division"?  A 2nd level manager at cisco is
responsible for 40-100 people (5 to 12 people per manager, typically.)
>
> It is also amazing to see so many VPs in US companies.

In management, they just create extra layers as needed to maintain the
desired number of reports per manager, I guess.  There isn't an easy
equivalent for technical positions...


> CISCO Fellows or Intel Fellows must be really highly respectable.
> I do not think Intel VPs and CISCO VPs are that highly respected.
> I could be wrong though since I do not know any of them. ;)

At cisco, a "Fellow" is supposed to be someone with "outward facing"
fame, while the (equivalent payscale) "Distinguished Engineer" is
more of an internal expert.  Management positions can be either, and
more frequently involve both.

> [billw said]
>> Let us know how you're doing in 10 or so.  Especially if you're
>> looking at an employer without "dual track" advancement ladders...

I SHOULD say that management need not be all that bad.  I was a manager
for a while, and really enjoyed building "the team", picking the
technical
and product direction, working with counterparts in marketing and
hardware
development, and there was still time left to do some actual coding,
too.
It was the "upward" direction of management; having to justify things to
upper levels (often over and over again) that got to be a real grind.  I
guess I didn't do it right.  Of course, lots of other managers fail to
do
parts of their job right, too, much to the enrichment of Scott Adams...

BillW

2005\09\13@003000 by William Chops Westfield

face picon face

On Sep 12, 2005, at 2:04 PM, Martin Klingensmith wrote:
>>
>> http://www.os2hq.com/articles/seven.htm
>> ...then take a look around you if you work at a "big" firm/farm and
>> note
>> how many people above X years work there.
>>

> How true do you believe this is?

Sorta true...

> Do you think it's possible that the person who wrote it didn't keep up
> with their field and lost track?

That would be one of the reasons for older engineers falling out of
favor, of course.  You have to spend half your time keeping up with
new technology, and half your time keeping up with new process, and
that doesn't leave much time for actual work :-(  Better to get those
young enthusiastic kids and drain them while they still think their
skills from college will be good forever.

You don't see management skillsets needing to change quite so fast.

Also, as mentioned earlier, technical positions tend to "top out" lower
than management.  So a 50-year old engineer is likely to make less than
a 50-year old manager.  By some definitions, this is "underemployed",
right?  So some fraction of older would-be engineers get disgruntled,
don't keep up, don't stay employed, don't get paid as much as X.  I
don't
think it's a major conspiracy, it just a consequence of what is expected
of engineers.  "I want someone who can write ARAP code for our
platform."
Do you know how FEW people in the world that is (was)?  If you're
willing
to skip people who already have the desired knowledge and just hire
smart
people with some background in the right area, that's a pretty lot of
people (not all of whom have LOTS of experience.)  An extra 10 years of
experience in SW or EE isn't THAT useful most of the time.  I have 20+
years of experience writing computer networking software: I could tell
you thinks about implementing the SUPDUP protocol in assembler for
TOPS10
that probably no one else in the world knows.  Big deal...

BillW

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