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Exclusive Placements Analysis -Page 2,3

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THE SCHOLARS’ AVENUE www.scholarsavenue.org

The Year Ahead

A PRIL 21 2010

IIT K HARAGPUR

Engineering Entrepreneurship, eh?

N

ow graduate from IIT with a degree and a company of your own. The School of Engineering Entrepreneurship, a newly added department to a long list of faculties and departments of IIT Kharagpur now makes it possible.With a mission to provide a globally competitive environment to students and entrepreneurs through various residential and online customized courses for MS, PHD and short run programs, SOEE aims to create an entrepreneurial atmosphere in the nation. To begin with, a total of 20 seats will be made available to the students enrolled in undergraduate engineering courses only. Eventually, seats will be made available to accommodate MS and BArch students. Admission to this 5 year integrated dual degree programme will be based on JEE ranking. The specially designed course curriculum structure is unique and follows no existing model. Enrolled students will not be allowed to sit for the institute placement on the completion of their course since they would be expected to have their own startups. However, in case the start-up fails to succeed, the students can come back and avail of the deferred placement option.

!(Pact Politics)

SOEE is to be housed at STEP. The proposed annex construction will be completed during summers. Pedagogy strategies aim to encourage blue sky research in contrast to the agenda-driven practical research. The course structure will have two facets, one that is practice based and the other which is theory oriented. More focus will be laid on product design and development rather than on encouraging service based business ideas. To support such activities, each student will have a personal cubicle as a workstation throughout the 5 year stay at the SOEE – STEP complex. Technology Business Incubation Lab will serve as the research and development base for the students to develop their products. The idea is to make each student create and incubate a sustainable entrepreneurial enterprise at the end of the five year degree. A host of alumni have been approached to assume the posts of faculty members in the school. Dr. Dhrubes Biswas, the Chairman SOEE says there is a paradigm shift in the study of Entrepreneurship; a transition from a practice based entrepreneurship training to a theory based learning.


P

lacement season is a defining period in every student’s life at IIT. We, as members of the same family understand the critical importance and relevance of it in our fellow students’ lives. The joyous smiles that followed each selection were enough to egg us on this momentous journey. Having engineered the entire placement process successfully this year, we would like share our backstage insights and bring to spotlight the multitude of issues that you, as future placement candidates, need to address.

the ‘Communication Skills’ column. Many Core company recruiters opined that undergraduate students were strong on basics but shaky on advanced applications. To the

time constraints and the sheer number of students appearing for interviews and tests each day, time slotting was a major worry for our team. Our top priority was always to

Placements is an elaborate process that requires many stakeholders to coordinate in tandem. Therefore, rather unconventionally, we’d like to begin by thanking all the people who helped us coordinate this colossal year long process. We are deeply indebted to many student volunteers who stayed back during December to help us out. Student Placement Committee 2009-10 Thanks are due in no small measure to (from Left to right) Dhawal Nanda, Sri Malini Adapureddy, Prateek Kumar all our alumni dotting various Jain, Anubhav Sahoo, Shubham Matah, Amrita Maitra, Swapnil Bagmar, organizations across the globe. Their Ashish Sogani unflinching support and strong recommendations helped us bring avoid clashes in the interview timings many corporations as potential contrary, postgraduates had an and written tests. Barring a few rare recruiters to Kgp. Students often extensive knowledge base but were instances, we successfully managed to overlook the role faculty members play found wanting on their undergraduate avert student inconvenience by meticulous scheduling as far as possible. Owing to Kgp’s geographical disadvantage, we substantially utilized teleconferencing and videoconferencing facilities in order to maximize the number of visiting companies.

as contact points to many recruiting organizations. We extend our warm thank you to all the professors who helped us through. Department representatives were appointed for the first time this year and their participation helped us to prioritize companies to be contacted from our vast T&P database. However, we would request future representatives to stay back during the month of December to facilitate a smoother process in the coming years.

basics. In association with The Scholars’ Avenue, we also set up a blog to detail out recruiting procedures of a few companies as recollected by some of our alumni, an initiative which we hope was helpful to students before placements. However, we plan to augment and scale up this documentation for next year and request graduating students to send in their placement responses to The Scholars’ Avenue (students placed in the first phase have already been intimated by an e-mail titled ‘TnPedia’). Inspired by IIT-K’s placement guide ‘Insight’, we plan to compile a comprehensive ‘Guide to placement season 2010-11’ with exhaustive records of your responses vis-à-vis company inputs and feedback grades.

Firstly, we initiated a standardized procedure to document feedback from all recruiting organizations. Feedback forms were structured to include an array of parameters that would serve as performance indicators for us, the institute and most importantly, the We thank all the final year students students. While ‘Technical Knowledge’ received a wide spectrum of grades, for having patiently endured what was a students were consistently rated low in tedious and long drawn placement

It becomes pertinent to point out instances of disappointing and regrettable behavior on students’ behalf which seriously undermined IIT Kgp’s credibility as deemed by our potential recruiters. Poor turn outs at the time of Pre Placement talks was a major concern. We’d like to point out that PPTs leave a crucial first impression that precedes the company’s selection procedure. Absenteeism can really hurt the number of students that companies are willing to consider for final recr uitment. During personal interviews, a few students even expressed their lack of interest to company executives (following their voluntary application and short listing). We knew the damage was irreparable when frustrated company officials demanded to know why such casual and uninterested students were allowed to apply. We vehemently request students not to apply for any job that does not interest them. Based on our past experiences, we foresee situations which may compel students to discard their campus offers. We

should at least formally inform the company about their choice to decline the offer. There have been complaints in the past when such students did not think it was important to extend this basic courtesy. Another issue that causes much heartburn every year is the seeming bias in the choice of departments by various companies. We witnessed very strong criticism from students of certain departments which were supposedly being neglected. We would like to clarify that our team has always tried to maximize the number of eligible students for any opportunity keeping within the policies and precincts as set by the company. As graduating students embark upon their professional journeys, we wish to remind them of the immense potential and influence they wield in shaping what is our proud ‘IIT Kharagpur brand’. We conclude with the hope that many new opportunities will come our way and that the future Placement committee teams will leverage them for the benefit of student community.


90% 80% 70% 60% 50%

Kharagpur

40%

Bom bay

30%

Madras

20%

Guw ahati

10% 0% B. T ech.

Comparison with Last Year

Dual Degree

M. T ech

5 Y ear 2 Y ear MSc./ Integrated MS. MSc.

Average Salaries Over the Last 5 Years 8

350

7.04

7

300

6.73

6 250 200 150

2009-10

4

2008-09

3

5.5

5.2

5

4.15

100

2 50

1 0

B.Tech/ B. Arch.

5 Yr. MSc.

Dual Degree

2 Yr. MSc. M. Tech/MCP MMST/LLB

0 2005-06

2006-07

2007-08

2008-09

2009-10


4

OUTGOING G.SEC REVIEW

P R A N A V

A N K I T

G.Sec ’s remarks on Implementation

To make the GC and Kshitij more lucrative by collaboration with the Indian government body Technopreneurs Promotion Programme (TePP) for funding new technical ideas and taking the industry’s help for problem statements and judging of events in the Technology General Championship.

A TePP representative from STEP went through the presentations for Inter Hall Product Design, but no funding could be achieved. The representative was unavailable during the Inter Hall Hardware Modeling event. However, funding was achieved for four submissions of the Open Hardware event during Kshitij. Problem statements were obtained from the industry for Chem Innovation and Ad Design but were not competent enough to be accepted.

To increase foreign participation of Kshitij by collaboration with foreign universities through Dean, AA and IR and introduce changes in submission procedure for foreign participants.

Though the response from universities was not encouraging, a tie-up of IMechE and Kshitij was achieved.

To encourage the participation of freshers in the GC by having a separate section in the library containing relevant books and archives of previous problem statements.

The separate section could not be set up. Documentation of previous statements (with the exception of Case Study) was not done as various halls disagreed.

To encourage more participation from the post graduate students in GC by having exclusive gymkhana awards for PG students and having post graduate student advisors for the technical events in Kshitij.

A separate per annum evaluation system for nomination of the awards has been implemented and PG students are now eligible. In Kshitij, MBA students were advisors for Exemplar. PG advisors were also approached for Cryotech.

K A V I S H

M A N D A R

G.Sec ’s remarks on Implementation

To have a technology output magazine published.

The groundwork for this was complete but the magazine “Techavenue” could not be published because of lack of funds.

Guest lectures prior to the fest by eminent people willing to come to Kharagpur but not during Kshitij due to time constraints.

We were in talks with Shobhaa De who was scheduled to come in the month of January but backed out at the last moment due to a book publicity tour.

Introduction of a new Industrial design problem event in the Technology General Championship.

G.Secs (Tech) of different halls indicated that it would not be possible to participate in a separate event, given the already packed GC schedule. Instead of a separate industry based event, it was planned to have a problem statement from the industry; due to the low quality of the problem statements in one of the events this idea was scrapped.

Sports Proposals

G.Sec ’s remarks on Implementation

Formation of Adventure Sports Club in IIT Kharagpur to provide opportunity to students of IIT Kharagpur to try various adventure sports like trekking, rock climbing & river rafting.

TAdS has been functioning well and has already conducted a successful trekking trip. It has become a platform for Kgpians to explore the outside world outside their daily routine.

Expansion of Shaurya- introduction of girls' events like basketball, table tennis and badminton, addition of football and badminton, workshop on roller skating and archery.

The 3 girls' events were held successfully. Football was introduced for the first time. A workshop on Archery was conducted by Tata Archery Club. Shaurya was a big success with more than 500 participants taking part in 8 boys' events and 3 girls' events.

Publication of a monthly sports newsletter to keep the students informed and updated about the sports activities within the campus so that no deserving talent misses out.

This could not be done due to Gymkhana budget constraints, but I am expecting one to come out this year for sure.

Sports Proposals

A N G A M

² W E D N E S D A Y , A P R I L 21 S T 2010

Technology Proposals

Technology Proposals

D E E P A K

THE SCHOLARS’ AVENUE

G.Sec ’s remarks on Implementation

Preparation of synthetic tennis courts - this would simulate the conditions prevailing at the Inter-IIT sports meet.

Initially, the institute cited lack of funds, but now funding from the institute has been secured. Work should get underway soon.

Installation of Aquaguards, dressing rooms and bathrooms in lawn tennis courts, basketball court and Jnan Ghosh Stadium.

The proposal has been passed.

Proposal to introduce carom as a sport in IIT Kharagpur.

It is not possible right now, given the state of affairs on the Inter-IIT front.

Swimming form, gym form and award form will be made available online

Simply doubling the number of swimming forms smoothened things out. Gym forms were never a hectic affair and collecting award forms online is a cumbersome process.

Social and Cultural Proposals

G.Sec ’s remarks on Implementation

To obtain recognition of events in Open IIT & Spring Fest from the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports and organizations like British Council & US Embassy to obtain recognition for SF as the “National

The then secretary of the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports had agreed to consider the proposal but because of budget issues, the proposal fell flat.

To organize workshops on dramatics and dance and weekly music classes under the TSG. To facilitate TDS practice, a set of collapsible mirrors would be installed in the Old Gymkhana. A Film Making Club would be initiated, followed by an Open IIT event on Film Making.

Dramatics and dance workshops were conducted. Since the new TSG proposal is already in the pipeline, installing mirrors for the TDS practices has been taken care of. The Film Making Club would be taken up by Spectra.

To introduce go-karting as an event in Spring Fest 2010

A stunt biking performance was conducted in SF 2010 instead of the go-karting idea.

Social and Cultural Proposals

G.Sec ’s remarks on Implementation

To give alumni awards to the winners of different events of the Social and Cultural General Championship.

Due to the variety and large number of events in the social and cultural calendar there is a need to make the award system sustainable before introducing it.

Conduction of workshops on film making by film institutes, followed by a competitive event for giving an impetus to the interested people.

Spectra had conducted a film making workshop this year.

To increase participation in Spring Fest events by conducting their preliminaries in other cities.

Conducting preliminaries in other cities was not feasible this year due to budgetary and time constraints. The spring fest team was still able to get much better outstation participation than SF 2009.

Invitation of NGO's and social entrepreneurial ventures to the campus on behalf of the TSG for conducting seminars and guest lectures followed by field trips for interested students.

The gymkhana is considering the possibility of an association with a student run organization and it may go ahead with the proposal by next semester.


THE SCHOLARS’ AVENUE

FEATURES AVENUE

² WEDNESDAY, APRIL 21ST 2010

5

The Inconvenient Truth

Are rigid government norms, a remote location and unattractive pay scales proving a stumbling block in BCRTH’s growth?

E

ight thousand students, 6 doctors – BCRTH. Situated right in the middle of the campus and assigned with the responsibility of the medical health of all the students, faculty and staff, this twostoried medical facility has had more than its share of limelight and, more often than not, in rather controversial circumstances. Last semester, we had brought to you the changes which had encompassed BC Roy after the setting up of an extensive roadmap to dramatically increase its medical capability. At the time, the administration was on its toes. The dramatic chain of incidents had provided the much needed momentum to set the ball rolling. A 24x7 pharmacy was set up. A host of other developmental activities had received a shot in the arm. However, BCR was of high priority back then. Five months later, we take another look at the scenario – are things still moving? Are the developments taking place at the same rate or has the enigmatic cycle of time again shown its hideous head? Here, in this article, we try to analyze the changes which have taken place since our last update (check out our October issue for previous coverage). More importantly, we attempt to touch upon the core of the issue – why exactly is the perception of the Hospital still so dismal? In a chat with Dr. Analava Mitra, the chairman of BCRTH, we learnt of the plans he has to change the tide in

BCR’s favour. “Our foremost priority is to make a perceptible difference in the image of the hospital. No student should leave the hospital with a feeling of discontent. We will do everything which takes to increase the satisfaction levels.” He mentions the coming of an upgraded pathology lab, separation of the emergency ward, and plans for a skeletal intensive care unit (ICU). Dr. Mitra believes BCRTH is finally getting the makeover needed to instill confidence amongst the students. “Resources were never a problem. What is needed here is timely execution and implementation. It’s our appeal to students to cooperate with us in our endeavor to change BC Roy.” An X-Ray machine is in the process of being acquired and the image analysis is to be done with the help of equipment in SMST. After a series of complaints against the alarming levels of mosquitoes in the hospital, plug points for repellants have now been installed at various locations to curb this menace. These measures, although praiseworthy, somehow fall short of addressing the broader problem plaguing BC Roy – the lack of trust of students in its treatment. Indeed, when one examines the typical (official) complaints lodged at the hospital, one finds that while some of them

are easily addressable by the Administration (and promptly dealt with), a highly recurring problem appears to be that of doctors either being very busy or unavailable altogether. With as few as six doctors assigned to look after a population of more than ten thousand, clearly the deficit would show up as it has. The situation is made grimmer by the inability of the administration to attract new, good quality doctors. “Our main problem is that we are not getting doctors. We already conducted two interviews. Two were to join but one backed out. We plan to conduct another interview soon.” So why are doctors not coming? The geographic location of Kharagpur coupled with the lack of amenities is definitely an issue but there just might be a deeper problem at work. According to a student member of the hospital management committee, government regulations have set an upper limit to the number of doctors that can be recruited in a government health care centre depending on the population of the serviceable areas. This number, lamentably, works out to be a meager nine in the case of BCRTH. Additionally, newly recruited doctors get a four month window to accept their appointment. During this period, no further attempts at recruitments can be made (as naturally follows from the max cap

of 3 additional doctors); in the event of a doctor changing his mind (as the case manifests here), the whole recruitment procedure has to be initiated all over again. The complication does not stop at this. The natural remedy when you are constrained in recruiting full-time medical practitioners would be to attract as large a base of visiting professionals as possible. However, the remuneration for the visiting specialists is apparently insufficient in its current form – for instance, we are at a disadvantage when calling Specialists from Kolkata, as they would likely earn much more from private practice in one day in a big city than they would by traveling to a remote location such as Kharagpur. Even Specialists in the Midnapore region would be a challenge to entice with present pay packages. It had been mentioned in a prior concept paper that revising remunerations should be made a priority. However, we haven’t seen any developments in this regard. Poised on the brink of opportunity and opprobrium, almost all unanimously agree that concrete, long term developmental plans, not just cosmetic changes, are the only way BC Roy can regain the lost trust. The changes are being made. But the velocity of the change is equally important. BCRTH has to prepare itself for any eventuality because as the saying goes – Tragedy has a way of visiting those who can bear it the least.

What are we supposed to do? We (students) never get tired of bashing up BC Roy, do we? Of course we have every right to protest against BC Roy for not giving us the treatment we deserve. But are our methods of protests justified? This is where we stop and think. Exaggerated blogs brimming with anger and inflammatory propaganda, in no way, help our cause. The tales of harrowing experiences, the ones we get to hear at our hostels, keep piling up at an astounding pace. However, the people who are actually ready to substantiate their claims with medical documents/books or prepared to lodge a complaint against their grievances, ironically,

turn out to be mysteriously low in number. The ignorance and the sciolism of the student community has brought the situation to such an impasse that even serious cases of misdiagnosis have the risk of going unnoticed. Apart from focalizing the fickleness of our nature, this unfounded sardonicism inherently accentuates the skepticism of the administration which, in turn, leads to dilution of the authenticity of our claims. Engrossing oneself in a self defeating blame game or vague statements pronouncing the hopelessness of BC Roy does not let the administration understand our problem. It not only

increases their frustration but also considerably widens the communication gap. So, how do we express our dissatisfaction? The focus should be on improvement rather than spending superfluous amounts of energy in trying to highlight the lack of it. There is a proper feedback mechanism in place. Prof. Mitra reiterates the fact that he has always wanted constructive feedback from the students. On viewing a document he showed to the Scholsave team, we were surprised to see the paucity and the sporadicity of the complaints. There is a complaint box in the hospital

which is checked at regular intervals. Besides, one can directly approach Dr. Mitra in person in his office at BC Roy. There’s also the option of mailing him or better still, calling him at his personal number. He is, in fact, eager to receive any kind of feedback which he can act on. There is also a student council consisting of eight members who have a meeting with the BCR Committee on a monthly basis. Although its role is essentially advisory, students can approach them if they have any grievances. So instead of lambasting BCR at the slightest pretext possible, it’s high time we realize our sense of responsibility.

General Championships SOC-CULT

SPORTS

TECH

Patel Hall Of Residence has clinched the Sports GC with a final thrust at the concluding Aquatics event. This season's Technology GC witnessed LLR and Nehru Halls tied at the top. The final standings were thereby resolved by the Executive Council with LLR, having bagged more Golds, pipping Nehru to the title. This year's Social-and-Cultural General Championship stretched into the month of April. Nehru had been leading the GC table with Patel Hall in a too-close-for-comfort second and it went down to the wire with Nehru clinching the GC in the final event, Western Instrumentals.


8

TECH AVENUE

MIT LAUDS KGP ENTREPRENEUR'S EFFORTS Manoj Kumar Mandelia, a 4th year dual Degree student from the Department of Biotechnology and his group which includes 3 other undergrads and one PhD student have been making headlines recently. They have swept top honours at both Concipio and Cleantech, the clean energy contest organised by E-Cell. Apart from that, they clinched 2nd position in both the Al-Gore Sustainability Development Competition and BEST (organised by the Department of Biotechnology), the total prize money from both these events going upto Rs. 370,000. From being the youngest person to be featured in MIT Science and Technology Review's Top 20 innovators from India to being selected as one out of 7 international and the only Indian finalist at the Rice University B-Plan Competition, Manoj has had a dream run. His product, which was developed under the auspisces of Prof. D.Das of the Biotech Department is a Microbial Fuel Cell, where waste water is treated and electricity is simulateously generated. The Scholars' Avenue caught up with him and this is what he had to say: TSA: When did you get this idea and how did you develop it? MM: I did my internship at the University of Manitoba where one of my colleagues was working on a concept called microbial electrolysis cell. We discovered that Microbial Fuel Cells were ideally suited for wastewater treatment and electricity can be used as a byproduct, so we switched over to it. We had originally entered the idea as a part of the Product Design Contest from LLR, but then our focus was purely on electricity generation, like in the US. Then, after a lot of rethinking, we redesigned the reactor to serve for a dual purpose and after a major overhaul of how to deliver and develop a sustainable business model, the final business model came up. I would though like to thank the entire Product Design team of LLR hall, who gave the name LOCUS which we still carry. The best bet for developing nations is decentralized treatment of water, compared to centralized treatment in the US. In the US, the main objective of Microbial Fuel Cells was solely generating power whereas in India, it should be used to cleanse water and produce enough electricity to make the treatment plant self-sustainable. The novelty, thus, was how we delivered the model. We hold a Provisional Patent for our unique Engineering Design, process, control and delivery solution pertaining to the usage of Microbial Fuel Cells in Wastewater treatment.

needed 4000$ more to represent IIT Kharagpur there. We approached the Dean of Alumni Affairs, Prof. Amit Patra and the Director, Damodar Acharya and gave a written application asking for traveling funds. As of now, there has been no support from the Institute. They have told us that a corpus fund to fund such expenses doesn’t exist. Even Professors who support me now, after we have proven our concept on various platforms and many press reports have been published, were hesitant in supporting me initially. TSA: Have you accepted VC funding so far?

TSA: Have you approached the institute for help? How has their response been?

MM: I believe VC funding is an overrated concept. I have learnt from experience that VC funding is meant for already established companies that are looking to scale up. They never invest in early product- development and concepts. It’s also not advisable to go for VC funding. They will ask for equity in return for their investment which will dilute your stake in the company. The bottomline is that when you are in the product development stage, you should focus on getting government grants especially for technology oriented startups. Find other ways to sustain yourself like consultancy. Angel investing is also something you can actively look forward to. Angel investors are expecting a return on their investment, however the profit margins they look forward to are much lower that those of Venture Capitalists.

MM: Over and above the 2500 $ granted to us to participate in Rice Business Plan Competition, we

TSA: Can you elaborate more on the consultancy projects you are

Of microbes and clean water thereof the Microbial Fuel Cell :LOCUS undertaking? MM: To sustain our company in the initial stage, our company, Canopus India, is doing a few consultancy projects. Since the government norms on effluent discharge are becoming more stringent day by day, we help industries meet those regulatory norms. An interesting observation we have found is that while the large industries will have installations, small and mediumsized industries, whose wastewater discharge far exceeds that of the large companies cannot afford sophisticated technologies for their water treatment. So wastewater treatment facilities are absent there. That is where we come in. We also cater to the emerging green building market in India as well as help companies get compliances from the government and the state pollution board by advising them on the steps they need to take to get the required government certifications. More details can be found at our website www.canopusindia.com. TSA: How important are patents from a student’s perspective? MM: A patent is a costly document. A typical US patent would cost you about 2 lacs which is not the kind of money you are ready to spend. Except, UC Berkeley and Cornell University, all other universities including MIT are losing money on patents because patenting isn’t s y n o n y m o u s w i t h commercialization. Again, it also depends on the product you intend to patent. You have to ask yourself whether your idea is important enough to be patented or whether you could work with Non Disclosure Agreements for a while. You can think of other ways to protect your idea. If your idea can be easily tinkered with or reverse engineered, patenting is a disadvantage as it brings out your idea in the public domain which can

then be tweaked by someone else. For this reason, Coca Cola's recipe is a trade secret till today. The advantages of a patent however include the credibility it gives as people are more likely to support a patented product. Taking a broader view, I believe Indians should get into a culture of patenting. TSA: What would you advise students of IIT Kharagpur regarding entrepreneurship? M M : Te n y e a r s a g o , Entrepreneurship would have been a difficult thing because you would have had to shell out money from your own pocket but today you don’t have to. The most important thing is that if you are building an enterprise when you are in college, the amount of support you receive from the industry is tremendous. People would be baffled by the fact that you are doing it while you are still an undergraduate student. Again, consolidate your company and build it internally, get your modules delivered, form collaborations, take good people in your advisory board and team. Rely on consultancy projects, while you are in college and as soon as you graduate, hit the market. By then, you will be talking to customers and will have a lot of experience under your belt. It’s a difficult journey replete with failure, success and learning. More the failures the better, because you learn from them. Don’t be afraid to consult and ask and don’t be skeptical about discussing your idea. Stop working on dot-coms/service models and focus on the product side. Look across your laboratories for things that can be taken to the market. The Scholars' Avenue wishes Manoj and the rest of his team the very best for future endeavours.


10

AD AVENUE

THE SCHOLARS’ AVENUE

² W E D N E S D A Y , A P R I L 21 T H 2010


Aprl 21 2010  

April 21 Issue.

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