Leveraging collective intelligence and AI to benefit society


A solar-powered autonomous drone scans for forest fires. A surgeon first operates on a digital coronary heart earlier than she picks up a scalpel. A worldwide group bands collectively to print private safety gear to struggle a pandemic.

“The long run is now,” says Frédéric Vacher, head of innovation at Dassault Systèmes. And all of that is attainable with cloud computing, synthetic intelligence (AI), and a digital 3D design store, or as Dassault calls it, the 3DEXPERIENCE innovation lab. This open innovation laboratory embraces the idea of the social enterprise and merges collective intelligence with a cross-collaborative strategy by constructing what Vacher calls “communities of individuals—passionate and prepared to work collectively to perform a typical goal.”

This podcast episode was produced by Insights, the customized content material arm of MIT Expertise Evaluation. It was not produced by MIT Expertise Evaluation’s editorial workers. 

“It’s not solely software program, it isn’t solely cloud, but it surely’s additionally a group of individuals’s expertise and providers out there for {the marketplace},” Vacher says. 

“Now, as a result of applied sciences are extra accessible, newcomers also can disrupt, and that is the place we need to focus with the lab.” 

And for Dassault Systèmes, there’s limitless real-world alternatives with the ability of collective intelligence, particularly when you find yourself bringing collectively trade consultants, health-care professionals, makers, and scientists to deal with covid-19. Vacher explains, “We created an open group, ‘Open Covid-19,’ to welcome any volunteer makers, engineers, and designers to assist, as a result of we noticed at the moment that many individuals had been making an attempt to do issues however on their very own, of their lab, of their nation.” This wasted time and sources throughout a world disaster. And, Vacher continues, the urgency of working collectively to share data grew to become apparent, “They had been all dealing with the identical points, and by working collectively, we thought it might be an fascinating option to speed up, to switch the know-how, and to keep away from any errors.”

Enterprise Lab is hosted by Laurel Ruma, director of Insights, the customized publishing division of MIT Expertise Evaluation. The present is a manufacturing of MIT Expertise Evaluation, with manufacturing assist from Collective Subsequent. 

This episode of Enterprise Lab is produced in affiliation with Dassault Systèmes. 

Present notes and hyperlinks 

“How Effective is a Facemask? Here’s a Simulation of Your Unfettered Sneeze,” by Josh Mings, SolidSmack, April 2, 2020 

“Open COVID-19 Community Lets Makers Contribute to Pandemic Relief,” by Clare Scott, The SIMULIA Weblog, Dassault, July 15, 2020

Dassault 3DEXPERIENCE platform

“Collective intelligence and collaboration around 3D printing: rising to the challenge of Covid-19,” by Frédéric Vacher, STAT, August 10, 2020

Full Transcript 

Laurel Ruma: From MIT Expertise Evaluation, I’m Laurel Ruma. And that is Enterprise Lab, the present that helps enterprise leaders make sense of recent applied sciences popping out of the lab and into {the marketplace}. 

Our subject at present is accelerating disruptive improvements to profit society by constructing and working large simulations. The world has large issues, and it’s going to take all of us to assist resolve them. Two phrases for you: collective intelligence.  

My visitor is Frédéric Vacher, who’s the pinnacle of innovation at Dassault Systèmes. He’s a mechanical engineer who has had an extended profession at Dassault. First, main the partnership program, after which launching the 3DEXPERIENCE Lab. This episode of Enterprise Lab is produced in affiliation with Dassault Systèmes. Frédéric, welcome to Enterprise Lab. 

Frédéric Vacher: Good morning, Laurel. Good morning, everybody. 

Laurel: Might you begin by first telling us a bit about Dassault Systèmes? I don’t need listeners to be confused with the aviation firm, as a result of we’re speaking a few 3D modeling and simulation enterprise that was based nearly 40 years in the past and has greater than 20,000 workers across the globe. 

FrédéricYeah, that’s true. We’re Dassault Systèmes, the 3D expertise firm. We have been digital since day one. Dassault Aviation is one in all our purchasers—like all of the aerospace firms—however our prospects are additionally automotive, shipbuilding, client items, client packaged items firms, and so forth. We’re a worldwide chief in offering digital options, from design simulation to manufacturing and we cowl 11 industries. Our goal is to harmonize product, nature, and life. 

For the previous two years, we have helped our purchasers’ trade roles to innovate by digitalizing and engineering their merchandise from very advanced merchandise to easier merchandise. For the previous 10 years, we have now invested very strongly in two instructions: the character of life and from issues, to life. 

Laurel: That could be a sophisticated sort of course of to kind of think about. However with the 3DEXPERIENCE Lab, scientists and engineers can go in and construct these cloud-based simulations for 3D modeling, digital twins, and product in a method that’s actually collaborative, benefiting from that human system. Might you speak to us a bit extra about why Dassault felt it was vital to create this 3DEXPERIENCE Lab in a method that was so collaborative? 

FrédéricWe began the 3DEXPERIENCE Lab initiative 5 years in the past to speed up newcomers, very small actors, startups, makers, as we imagine that innovation is all over the place. For 40 years, we innovated with the aerospace and protection trade. [For example] we established a partnership with Boeing on the 777, as an illustration, the primary airplane that was totally digitized [made into a digital twin]. And not solely the product, however all of the processes and the factories. Now, as a result of applied sciences are extra accessible, newcomers also can disrupt, and that is the place we need to focus with the lab. This lab is focusing on open innovation with startup accelerators empowering communities on-line, communities of individuals, passionate and prepared to work collectively to accomplish a typical goal. 

Laurel: And since it’s an open lab, anybody can take part. However you could have created a particular program for startups. Might you inform us extra about that program? 

FrédéricBecause the starting, we have now been figuring out and sourcing startups that present a powerful influence to society as a disruptive product or undertaking eager to make an actual influence. This program supplies these startups entry to our software program {and professional} options that the trade is utilizing in their day-to-day actions. But in addition funds to this cloud platform for communities to create entry to mentors. Mentors will assist them speed up of their improvement, offering know-how and data. 

Laurel: That sort of entry for startups is relatively troublesome to get, proper? As a result of this type of software program is skilled grade, it’s costly. They could not have the ability to afford it or perceive that they even have entry to it. However apparently, it isn’t simply the software program firms and startups that would have entry to it is also the individuals who work at Dassault, right? 

FrédéricYeah, that’s right. Thanks to this 3DEXPERIENCE platform within the cloud, as you talked about, we have now 20,000 individuals worldwide in 140 international locations. These individuals are educated as they assist their enterprise in lots of industries when it comes to know-how and in science. And these individuals on a volunteering foundation, might be part of a lab undertaking as coach, mentor, or startup. Thanks to these cloud platforms, they are not solely discussing and offering some perception or data or steerage, however they can actually co-design with these guys. Like a Google doc, many individuals can work on the identical doc whereas being in several areas. This program allows us to carry out the identical method however on a digital mock-up. 

Laurel: Folks can sort of actually visualize what you keep in mind. The 3DEXPERIENCE Lab does two issues. One, it creates a method for an enterprise to construct a complete product as a 3D imaginative and prescient, incorporating suggestions from the analysis lab, the manufacturing unit flooring, and the client. So, all of the stakeholders can work in a single atmosphere. Might you give us an instance of that and the way that works? 

FrédéricIn a single atmosphere within the cloud they will begin with utilizing some apps, possibly from CATIA or SolidWorks. They will do the engineering a part of the job on the identical information mannequin they would use to carry out their very own simulations. Any sort of digital simulation that will assist these guys to announce the engineering and the design of their product. By way of that, they may optimize the design after which go to the manufacturing facet, delivering all of the processes wanted as much as programming the machines. However that’s, I might say, the usual option to function.  

Now for this platform, you could have entry additionally to providers for market. This is especially fascinating for early-stage startups as they wrestle to seek out the appropriate companion or the appropriate provider to fabricate one thing. Right here, at one click on of a button, they will supply parts from hundreds of thousands of parts which can be out there by way of certified suppliers on-line. Simply drag and drop the part into the undertaking. 

They will entry to hundreds of factories worldwide, whereby, they may have the ability to produce their elements for these factories, managing all of the enterprise on-line between the 2 suppliers. After which, they could additionally have entry to engineering providers, the place if you need to do one thing, however you don’t have the talents to do it, you then contract the job to a service bureau or certified companions that would ship the job. So, it’s not solely software program, it’s not solely cloud, but it surely’s additionally a group of individuals’s expertise and providers out there for the market. 

Laurel: And it truly is a platform, proper? To immediately provide providers and innovation from one firm to a different, in a method that is very visible and hands-on, so you could possibly really nearly demo the product before you purchase it since you are on this 3DEXPERIENCE atmosphere. How does that work? With an instance from an organization? Am I pondering of that within the right method? 

FrédéricYou’re right. The whole digital undertaking is finished on the platform earlier than the actual product is produced. You need to develop a brand new automotive or a brand new desk or a brand new chair or new lamp, you design all the things in 3D. You simulate to make it sturdy and you then do the engineering to make it possible for the manufacturing could be fantastic primarily based in your manufacturing capacities or companions. And, you go one step additional on that, then you may actually produce the advertising and marketing operations, produce the promoting, the top quality footage you want to your flyers, even the expertise from the video to report the commercials. So, the digital belongings that are executed already originally of the undertaking, to engineer a brand new product, are now used not just for manufacturing, but additionally for communication, advertising and marketing, coaching, and so forth. That implies that these individuals in your advertising and marketing division can do the job in parallel and carry out all their deliverables, even when the product, the bodily product, shouldn’t be there but. 

Laurel: How do firms really feel about sharing a few of this mental property forward of time earlier than the product is even developed? It’s essential to should have very particular philosophies and outlooks to need to do that, proper? 

FrédéricYeah. The IP is essential for us and clearly for our purchasers. We ship to every consumer a devoted platform in order that they’re in a 100% safe community atmosphere. That is true for the large guys like Boeing, Airbus within the aerospace trade or BMW, Tesla within the auto trade. However it’s additionally true for smaller startups like we’re speaking about with this innovation lab. 

Laurel: The system actually does carry collectively an monumental quantity of sophisticated points, together with cybersecurity, in addition to processing energy, information science, synthetic intelligence, but additionally that human intelligence. How does Dassault outline collective intelligence? Why is that so vital as a philosophy? 

FrédéricIt’s key. Behind any undertaking, behind any firms, you could have individuals, proper? For this reason on this platform, on the baseline providers, you could have all these providers to allow individuals to collaborate, not solely to handle their undertaking with sequences, with milestones, with process administration and so forth like all company would do, however now in a really agile method for communities. To attach individuals, to assist individuals, to work higher collectively to match expertise and desires. It is a new strategy, clearly this strategy is new for professionals, however these providers had been introduced by social networks to the basic public a few years in the past, however we utilized these providers to modern processes onto engineering processes inside an organization. 

Laurel: You talked about expertise, and I believe an fascinating place to sort of take a look at it for a bit, is how do individuals switch data? And is that this atmosphere conducive to coaching and serving to maybe one group educate the opposite group tips on how to carry out fundamental duties or perceive a product higher? Are you seeing that when firms work with the platform, they really carry in everybody, together with advertising and marketing? So, everybody can have a a lot better understanding of all the product? 

FrédéricUndoubtedly. First, we share a frequent referential. So, there isn’t any loss in e mail alternate, in information alternate, and so forth. Everybody’s work round a digital twin of the undertaking is correct and up-to-date. Second, this platform allows you to capitalize data and know-how and it’s essential, particularly when seniors are retiring, to switch the data to new generations. Now we have seen previously, particularly within the aerospace trade, many fellows, who have left their firm have to come back again to the corporate as a result of they are seen as crucial within the course of with their data. Such a platform now permits firms to maintain the data inside and to switch the data from one era to a different. 

Laurel: So that concept of collective intelligence actually does unfold all through a complete enterprise. The lab does tackle a variety of themes, together with healthcare. Might you discuss a couple of of these concepts? 

FrédéricYeah. With the lab, as I mentioned, we have now most important standards to choose a undertaking: a powerful, optimistic influence to society and a disruptive undertaking that calls for collective intelligence. We’re very selective as we actually need to assume large. We need to speed up about 10 tasks a yr on a world standpoint. We closely use information intelligence and our instruments to scan and to scroll by way of all information on the internet, new VCs, the founding a new startup, [all of this is done] with the intention to perceive the weak alerts, the brand new traits, and have the option to determine these newer innovators. We use the identical platform to orchestrate this ideation course of. Having a small thought, nurturing and qualifying the thought, as much as validating this thought coming from the startups with the group—the lab group, which is ready to problem the undertaking to offer their insights, their recommendations, after which vote. 

On each quarter, a new batch of startups are presenting their tasks. They’re pitching utilizing the platform. Having as a report, all of these discussions on the undertaking from a number of, you recognize mentors’ expertise giving their opinion, the committee’s voting consists of our CEO himself, with a few members of the boards validating the undertaking primarily based on all these discussions. So it’s a really versatile course of. A really speedy course of, contemplating we have now an enormous firm. In lower than a couple of months we will orchestrate a utterly new undertaking.  

It’s a whole reverse strategy than constructing a PowerPoint doc to validate a undertaking. It is a very cool innovation with inclusive methodology the place each volunteer, each particular person, who desires to contribute are welcome to. And clearly when validated, the startups get free entry to our software program, to these mentors which can be recruited. Like, you recognize, on relationship apps, however we’re doing matching between mentors which have experience and expertise with wants requested by these startups or on tasks. 

Laurel: That’s fairly a profit for a startup for individuals be matched with mentors and different innovators of their specific area. However to have Dassault’s CEO so intimately concerned in these processes? That’s actually fairly astounding. 

FrédéricIt’s large. Even when the startup shouldn’t be chosen, we’re engaged on the undertaking, we’re difficult the undertaking with consultants. Our CEO himself is difficult the undertaking. It is already vital data for these guys and a large worth. To reply your query in regards to the themes, we have now three most important themes that drives our sourcing: life, metropolis infrastructure, and life-style well-being. As I mentioned, what we wish is to positively influence the society. We imagine that the one progress is human. So these themes, as you understood, are pushed into a greater world. 

Laurel: What’s an instance of one in all these startups which have come to you, what are they engaged on? 

FrédéricNow we have an enormous number of tasks. Now we have wonderful tasks that, as an illustration, that are performing organ 3D printing with patient-specific geometry reconstruction with the intention to create a digital twin of a affected person. That is with the intention to have a simulator for the surgeons who would use it to coach earlier than the actual surgical procedure within the working room. It was one of many first startups, BioModex, a French startup. We accelerated originally of the lab. They began at two individuals and are now at 50 they usually began in Paris. They have now additionally settled in Boston to attach with the life science group. And it’s large in case you take a look at it, particularly for neurosurgery, in some advanced case, the surgeon can prepare by yourself digital twin earlier than the actual surgical procedure. So, it reduces threat with greater effectivity. 

One other instance is about mobility on drones. We’re serving to younger startups which can be engaged on a photo voltaic autonomous drone. You bear in mind, there may be a story about photo voltaic impulse with Bertrand Piccard, a pioneer who did a world tour with a airplane powered by the solar. The restrict of this undertaking was the pilot, since you can’t keep too lengthy, not consuming, not consuming. I believe a drone disrupts utterly the idea. This photo voltaic autonomous drone is because of carry out and function missions, like forest hearth detection. So, if a drone can keep on the radar of any fires early within the course of, it will assist controlling borders or coasts or pipeline monitoring. We are engaged on it for the previous three years. Final summer season, they did their first check flight–12 hours powered by the solar doing 600 kilometers. So, the primary flight was a hit and there may be lot of potential in this undertaking. It is referred to as a drone, but it surely’s extra like a airplane with two wings.  

The third one is a US-based firm SparkCharge. They’re creating moveable, ultra-fast charging items for electrical autos. Two weeks in the past, they had been on Shark Tank on ABC they usually received. They received funded by Mark Cuban. It’s an enormous success. 

Laurel: We should always take a minute to outline digital twin. A digital twin is a replica of a system that may be manipulated to experiment with completely different outcomes. Kind of like making a photocopy to protect the unique, however to have the ability to write on or make modifications to the copy. On this case, having a digital twin for a medical process helps the surgeon stroll by way of what she goes to do earlier than she does it on a stay affected person.  

And the second thought of a photo voltaic autonomous drone/airplane, actually, as a result of it’s not a small drone that we consider, it is a very giant one with photo voltaic panels on it. With the ability to autonomously fly for hours on finish to survey forest fires and even oil pipelines, any sort of lengthy flight skill – that actually does sound like the long run to me. Do you ever simply pinch your self and say, “I can’t imagine these are a number of the wonderful tasks individuals are coming to us with?”

FrédéricYeah, the long run is now. This 3D printed organ is in manufacturing and it’s already being used. The photo voltaic autonomous drone made its first flight, and we count on a number of flights subsequent yr. Issues are accelerating for the nice. 

Laurel: And talking of one of the vital issues that we’re coping with right here in 2020 is the covid-19 pandemic. Dassault Systèmes had a direct response, as many firms are working very intently with making an attempt to work on options to the virus. So, what’s the Open Covid-19 undertaking and the way’s Dassault serving to? 

FrédéricAs I mentioned earlier, the 3DEXPERIENCE Lab has had two sort of tasks: a really collective and collaborative undertaking round a startup or a whole group undertaking with particular wants. We did that as an illustration, to reconstruct Leonardo da Vinci’s machines in 3D. We created a web based group, shared the gathering—all these manuscripts that had been the draftings of Leonardo at the moment—to engineers. We’re utilizing our software program, or any 3D software program, to design and engineer these machines and it labored fairly properly. It began eight years in the past, and it’s nonetheless going. Many machines have been reconstructed and now they’re forming a playground of many machines. A few of them labored and a few of them didn’t. At the moment, he invented so many issues, however clearly not all the things was going to work. We did the identical for the covid-19 scenario. 

When the pandemic began, it was in China, and our colleagues had been reporting the problems to us. We noticed the pandemic coming into Europe from Italy first, after which in France. So, we determined to first work with our information intelligence to grasp the wants by creating dashboards to scan what individuals had been saying. And really rapidly we recognized two most important wants: ventilators and safety. They had been the focus of issues. 

So we created an open group, Open Covid-19, to welcome any volunteer makers, engineers and designers, to assist, as a result of we noticed at the moment that many individuals had been making an attempt to do issues, however on their very own, of their lab, of their nation. They had been all dealing with the identical points, and by working collectively, we thought it might be an fascinating option to speed up, to switch the know-how, to keep away from any errors executed already. 

For this group, we accelerated greater than 150 tasks on the world standpoint. With round 25 ventilators in India, a startup referred to as Inali did a whole engineering simulation and prototyping of a brand new ventilator in eight days. As soon as once more due to the cloud and the mentoring.

For collaborative tasks with trade, it was the case in Brazil and Mexico. To make these tasks you could have makers within the fab lab, making an attempt to do some frugal innovation with what they’ve. A few of these tasks have been licensed, as an illustration, from when we labored with the Fab Basis from MIT’s Heart for Bits and Atoms (CBA). They’re gathering, with this basis, all fab labs around the globe to attach native manufacturing. It was primarily the case for cover, for PPE and for face shields, in order that they may 3D print these face shields. And we had been ready to do some information and GPS localization of these fab labs in hospitals. I believe urgency dictates to attach them domestically so to join to a native manufacturing. A fab lab might develop on design and fabricate PPE for the healthcare staff shut by. 

Laurel: And a type of tasks that clearly received quite a lot of curiosity, is the way in which that sneeze particles are unfold. And with covid-19, everybody could be very inquisitive about understanding how aerosol particles transfer by way of the air. 

FrédéricYeah, that’s true. We developed a sneeze simulation mannequin from the entrance of a particular person to mannequin digital particles to see the scientific simulation of the human sneeze to judge how pathogens, such as covid, would unfold. And we did this simulation mannequin with MIT’s CBA with Neil Gershenfeld to first announce the design of the PPE, private protecting gear, the face protect design. And to see from two digital individuals in entrance of them, one- or two-meters distance the place one is sneezing. What’s influence on how these particles would unfold from one particular person to the opposite, to optimize the design? We in a short time understood, as an illustration, that these face shields want a high cowl since the particles are dropping down and infecting the different particular person. 

Laurel: So how do you see synthetic intelligence augmenting human intelligence? 

FrédéricAI, for many individuals, AI is deep studying. It’s machine studying laptop imaginative and prescient, or information science–all people is doing it. For us, synthetic intelligence additionally results in generative designs, as an illustration. The algorithm creates a form that meets your design intent, your constraints. So, the designer is not sketching the form he desires, he’s offering the constraints. The necessities on the algorithm is proposing a design form that meets these intents. It reverses utterly the way in which the designers carry out the operate due to the substitute intelligence. 

We spoke about human, augmented human by leveraging the digital twin. Your digital me, in a method, of your physique, of your organs. Now we have this collaborative undertaking referred to as Dwelling Coronary heart pushed by our American colleagues to revolutionize, the cardiovascular science by way of lifelike simulations. This analysis undertaking delivered a coronary heart mannequin to discover novel digital therapies. And from this mannequin, we accelerated a brand new startup, a Belgium firm referred to as FEops that now can provide the primary and the one affected person particular simulation mannequin for structural coronary heart intervention with AI, which can predict the most effective TAVI [those valve implants] that the surgeon would want for matching accurately his affected person’s anatomy. 

Laurel: So, the simulation actually does come out of the cloud, and out of the pc to actual life. And, in a speedy method that helps individuals on a day-to-day foundation, which is actually unbelievable. It is not one thing that simply lingers round for approval. You can also make modifications, see the impact, after which transfer on to see what else you are able to do to enhance conditions.  

The face protect undertaking can also be a type of that is so crucial. Bringing within the makers, as you mentioned, so many of us needed to get entangled, and nonetheless are from around the globe, and serving to out in their very own method. So, this concept of bringing in beginner makers, in addition to startups, in addition to these professionals, in addition to enterprises, all working collectively to essentially fight a world pandemic is absolutely fairly one thing else. This reveals me that Dassault actually does have an innovator’s mindset in relation to science, in relation to serving to humanity. How else are you seeing the successes of the 3DEXPERIENCE Lab kind of ripple all through the Dassault? 

FrédéricAt Dassault Systèmes sure, we’re all innovators in a method. That’s why, after I established this 3D lab initiative 5 years in the past, I made a decision not to create a brand new group with the boss that will carry out innovation. I used to be prepared to have an inclusive administration system. We determined to enable any of our 20,000 workers to take as much as 10% of their time to volunteer on innovation accelerated by the lab. And convey their onerous expertise and their know-how data.  

And once more, that is attainable due to this platform. So we invented, in a method, a brand new administration group with communities, utterly throughout silos, throughout divisions, in order that anybody might be part of a undertaking for few hours, a couple of days or a couple of weeks with the intention to work on it. It was actually a brand new governance for open innovation, with new administration methodologies that impacted not solely the particular person, or the workers, but additionally our personal platform on options. We work intently with our R&D to boost a few or to develop new functions, to maintain new methodologies on course of. 

Laurel: And do different firms come to Dassault to ask, “how did you do that?” You’re a big company, with world places of work, and also you’ve been round for a very long time. You most likely have very particular methods of pondering. How did you handle in 5 years to grow to be this modern firm, they need to need to be taught from you? 

FrédéricThat’s true. I do not know in the event that they need to be taught from us, however at least get inspiration from us. What we do is we are all the time coaching forward of our time. Pondering of new methods of working on the lab. We experimented with new utilization, due to the cloud. We succeeded as a result of now it actually works with 20,000 individuals in operation with deliverables and KPIs. Our level is absolutely to encourage them and to indicate them what is feasible and what we will do to remodel ourselves. It is also digital transformation for Dassault Systèmes with these workers to ensure that them to assume the way it might additionally influence them, how they will additionally rework their administration system and their firms. 

Laurel: That’s glorious. What an ideal option to finish at present’s interview. Thanks a lot for becoming a member of us. 

Frédéric: Thanks, Laurel. 

Laurel: That was Frédéric Vacher, the Head of Innovation at Dassault Systèmes, who I spoke with from Cambridge, Massachusetts, the house of MIT and MIT Expertise Evaluation overlooking the Charles River. 

That’s it for this episode of Enterprise Lab. I’m your host, Laurel Ruma. I’m the director of Insights, the customized publishing division of MIT Expertise Evaluation. We had been based in 1899 on the Massachusetts Institute of Expertise. And you could find us in print, on the internet, and at dozens of occasions every year around the globe and on-line. 

For extra details about us and the present, please try our web site at technologyreview.com. This present is on the market wherever you get your podcasts. In case you loved this episode, we hope you’ll take a second to charge and evaluation us. Enterprise Lab is a manufacturing of MIT Expertise Evaluation. This episode was produced by Collective Subsequent. Thanks for listening. 



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