How to get better/study for PACE

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How to get better/study for PACE

Post by akinney » Sun Dec 06, 2009 3:28 pm

Madisonville has qualified for PACE NSC. I know my team must prepare if we are avoid completely embarrassing ourselves. How would I go about getting better at PACE and the format? The only comparable questions I have played on are a few house tournaments and NAQT (which really isn't comparable at all). Thanks in advance.
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Re: How to get better/study for PACE

Post by TheKingInYellow » Sun Dec 06, 2009 4:40 pm

http://quizbowlpackets.com/

Old PACE packets might help
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Re: How to get better/study for PACE

Post by akinney » Sun Dec 06, 2009 4:48 pm

Thanks very much. I think I have seen this link before but it's been a long time.
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Re: How to get better/study for PACE

Post by raysaagar » Sun Dec 06, 2009 5:01 pm

I have read through most of those, are there any other places that might have more packets?
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Re: How to get better/study for PACE

Post by at your pleasure » Sun Dec 06, 2009 5:09 pm

College questions are also helpful. Check out the college sections of quizbowlpackets.com and the ACFDB, as well as the Stanford Archive.
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Re: How to get better/study for PACE

Post by The Atom Strikes! » Sun Dec 06, 2009 5:55 pm

PACE's third parts and leadins (hell, even their tossup answer selection) always draw heavily from the ACF Nationals of that year. I would recommend checking that out before nationals.
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Re: How to get better/study for PACE

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Sun Dec 06, 2009 6:13 pm

Wrong.
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Re: How to get better/study for PACE

Post by wd4gdz » Sun Dec 06, 2009 7:25 pm

Just a coincidence, I'm sure...

First bonus from PACE NSC 2009

1. The cadenzas for violin in this piece are composed without bar lines and Hugh Bean produced a famous recording of it with conductor Adrian Boult. For 10 points each;
[10] Name this lyrical composition for violin and orchestra inspired by a George Meredith poem about a bird soaring in the air.
ANSWER: The Lark Ascending
[10] The Lark Ascending is a work by this British composer who created Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis and Sinfonia Antarctica.
ANSWER: Ralph Vaughan Williams [prompt on partial answer]
<Gioia>

Bonus from ACF Nationals 2009: Finals 2

Answer the following about some related pieces of music, for 10 points each.,
[10] This pastoral ``romance for violin and orchestra'' ends with a solo cadenza and was inspired by a George Meredith poem of the same name.
Answer: The Lark Ascending
[10] With a coda suggested by H.G. Wells' Tono Bungay, this four part work in G major at one point uses a harp to quote the half-hour chimes of Westminster.
Answer: A London Symphony or Ralph Vaughn Williams' Symphony No. 2
[10] This man composed both A Lark Ascending and A London Symphony.
Answer: Ralph Vaughn Williams
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Re: How to get better/study for PACE

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Sun Dec 06, 2009 7:29 pm

Pretty much, since the Lark Ascending is an important piece by Ralph Vaughan WIlliams and the PACE bonus is actually more detailed than the one from ACF Nationals. Nice try though.
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Re: How to get better/study for PACE

Post by wd4gdz » Sun Dec 06, 2009 7:31 pm

Jeremy Gibbs Free Energy wrote:Pretty much, since the Lark Ascending is an important piece by Ralph Vaughan WIlliams and the PACE bonus is actually more detailed than the one from ACF Nationals. Nice try though.
Nice try at what?
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Re: How to get better/study for PACE

Post by The Atom Strikes! » Sun Dec 06, 2009 7:33 pm

Er, my reading of that year's ACF Nationals netted me many points at PACE that year... without ACF, there's no way I would have gotten, say, Idomeneo, or powered a tossup on Easter, 1916, or 30'd the AE Housman bonus, or a number of other things. I've seen some other noticeable bits of canon creep between the two events in previous years as well-- do you really think that people would have written a bonus part about, say, Hildegard for high school students without it coming up earlier at ACF Nats?
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Re: How to get better/study for PACE

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Sun Dec 06, 2009 7:52 pm

Yes, because all kinds of people study Hildegard outside of quizbowl.
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Re: How to get better/study for PACE

Post by theMoMA » Sun Dec 06, 2009 7:54 pm

Things that are important in quizbowl continue to be important in quizbowl. If you read some Nationals packets, you'll come across plenty of things that are important, and could possibly come up at PACE, just like you would if you read any quality academic tournament. The idea that Ted Gioia is looking at Nationals packets to glean clues or find bonus ideas for questions at PACE NSC is absurd. Especially considering that Ted's question was almost certainly written nearly six months before ACF Nationals.
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Re: How to get better/study for PACE

Post by The Atom Strikes! » Sun Dec 06, 2009 7:56 pm

Jeremy Gibbs Free Energy wrote:Yes, because all kinds of people study Hildegard outside of quizbowl.
Yes, but that doesn't make it reasonable to ask about her at a high school quizbowl tournament under normal circumstances. Lots of people (probably pretty much anybody who does anything in real philosophy) study, say, Frank Jackson's philosophical work (he wrote two papers central to the qualia debate). That doesn't make him an askable bonus part at a high school tournament.

I think that if you looked over the two sets, you would be surprised at the parallels. I mean, Shantanu and I actually agree on this point-- surely, we were both onto something in our preparation...
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Re: How to get better/study for PACE

Post by theMoMA » Sun Dec 06, 2009 8:01 pm

My honest suggestion is that you read every packet of past PACE NSCs between now and the tournament. If you run out, start reading ACF Fall packets. Reading packets alone helps you improve substantially, especially when you read multiple sets of the same tournament, since you'll quickly see what answers come up in multiple iterations of the same tournament; they're almost always the very important things that you'll need to master in order to do well at NSC. Of course, reading packets alone won't get you all the way there. But it's the first step to understanding the scope of the material that you need to cover, and it will help you create a cognitive map of possible answers and interrelations between answers and clues. From there, you can pick out some important topics that interest you and learn more about them.

Basically, my suggestion is to figure out what's out there, then make some of it your own by learning it well. If you can get teammates involved in your project, it will work even better. Multiple people working together fosters camaraderie and motivates everyone to succeed together. It has the handy side effect of making your team well-rounded and rendering every member capable of scoring meaningful tossups. Since 90% of the work involved in this strategy is simply doing the fun part of quizbowl (reading packets), you should be able to sell it to your teammates pretty easily.
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Re: How to get better/study for PACE

Post by theMoMA » Sun Dec 06, 2009 8:06 pm

Volvo Effect wrote:
Jeremy Gibbs Free Energy wrote:Yes, because all kinds of people study Hildegard outside of quizbowl.
Yes, but that doesn't make it reasonable to ask about her at a high school quizbowl tournament under normal circumstances. Lots of people (probably pretty much anybody who does anything in real philosophy) study, say, Frank Jackson's philosophical work (he wrote two papers central to the qualia debate). That doesn't make him an askable bonus part at a high school tournament.

I think that if you looked over the two sets, you would be surprised at the parallels. I mean, Shantanu and I actually agree on this point-- surely, we were both onto something in our preparation...
NSC was held six weeks after ACF Nationals. Most of the questions for NSC were written before Nationals was held, by people who had no access to the set before it was played. Any relationship between answers in those sets is complete coincidence. I'll reiterate that you'll find a strong relationship between the answers at any two well-written academic tournaments, which Nationals and NSC certainly were.
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Re: How to get better/study for PACE

Post by vcuEvan » Sun Dec 06, 2009 8:06 pm

Volvo Effect wrote:PACE's third parts and leadins (hell, even their tossup answer selection) always draw heavily from the ACF Nationals of that year. I would recommend checking that out before nationals.
Even if this was true last year (although I'll bet any correlations were coincidental), have you actually compared other nats sets to their corresponding NSC sets, or are you just making this part up?
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Re: How to get better/study for PACE

Post by aestheteboy » Sun Dec 06, 2009 11:28 pm

That people look at ACF Nats for clues to use at NSC is (most likely) false. That many clues and answers in ACF Nats come up at NSC is not. That studying Nats packets to prepare for NSC is a good method is more ambiguous.
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Re: How to get better/study for PACE

Post by The King's Flight to the Scots » Mon Dec 07, 2009 12:01 am

If anything, this only proves that academia is essentially united. If you indulge your intellectual curiosity by looking at paintings, reading novels, or reading about history, quizbowl will likely reward you for it. Packets basically do two things: they give you a sense of what comes up, and they show you where to look to learn more about a subject. I won't deny that reading packets and playing tournaments are essential stages in the development of a player. Personally, I definitely haven't gotten past that stage. However, in my opinion, the best part about quizbowl is being rewarded for reading a book or an article, or for writing a question about something*. Those early buzzes at PACE will be hard to come by: you really do need that deep knowledge.


*Actually, as soon as your team gets a sense of what comes up, you should have them start writing questions: it really does help.
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Re: How to get better/study for PACE

Post by AKKOLADE » Mon Dec 07, 2009 12:46 am

My advice would be to read the past three or four NSCs (at least), the past couple of years of regular season questions, along with ACF Fall and similarly difficult college-level tournaments. That is a good starting point.
Volvo Effect wrote:PACE's third parts and leadins (hell, even their tossup answer selection) always draw heavily from the ACF Nationals of that year. I would recommend checking that out before nationals.
Most of PACE is written before ACF Nationals is released. I'd like to see the data you're using to make this conclusion, as well.
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Re: How to get better/study for PACE

Post by AKKOLADE » Mon Dec 07, 2009 1:10 am

The following subjects have been cited as being used at ACF Nationals and then magically being deemed appropriate for NSC usage:

Ralph Vaughan Williams - appeared in at least one IS & a couple of HSAPQ
Idomeneo - appeared a few times in high school NAQT questions. This is, in my limited knowledge of quiz bowl, the second hardest of these five answers. It was also the hardest part of a three part bonus.
"Easter, 1916" - appeared about five times in high school NAQT sets, plus one HSAPQ set, BATE, and HAVOC.
A.E. Housman - appeared at least five times in high school NAQT sets, plus one HSAPQ set and a couple others
Hildegard - Not mentioned in the 09 NSC set, was mentioned in the 08 NSC set (once again, as the hardest part of a three part bonus). The hardest of these answers, and might be a case of missing our target difficulty.

I'm not arguing that there have not been any cases of answers being too difficult for our target difficulty (though I will note that I hope this will be less of a problem, with the new format). But would you suggest studying ACF Nationals for an IS set? If so, would you also suggest amputation for a splinter?
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Re: How to get better/study for PACE

Post by Sir Thopas » Mon Dec 07, 2009 2:50 am

My personal thoughts on these:
FredMorlan wrote:Ralph Vaughan Williams - appeared in at least one IS & a couple of HSAPQ
A really important composer, in addition to one who comes up all the time. The Lark Ascending being in both is a little odd, but I'd say that the ACF bonus is a bit on the easy side instead of any major impugning of PACE's difficulty (that bonus may be a bit on the hard end for it, too).
Idomeneo - appeared a few times in high school NAQT questions. This is, in my limited knowledge of quiz bowl, the second hardest of these five answers. It was also the hardest part of a three part bonus.
Sure, this isn't that common, but it's still a relatively major Mozart opera, and those are listened to and important. I don't know how important Idomeneo specifically is, but I think it's fine—if, again, a bit on the hard side.
"Easter, 1916" - appeared about five times in high school NAQT sets, plus one HSAPQ set, BATE, and HAVOC.
Also, a tossup at WoQ 2009.
A.E. Housman - appeared at least five times in high school NAQT sets, plus one HSAPQ set and a couple others
Again, I'm fairly certain he's real-world very important, and I see no problem with him coming up. Plus, he comes up in pretty much every tournament anyway (as well he should, I feel), so it's not at all out of place or unexpected in PACE.
Hildegard - Not mentioned in the 09 NSC set, was mentioned in the 08 NSC set (once again, as the hardest part of a three part bonus). The hardest of these answers, and might be a case of missing our target difficulty.
While a bit on the hard side, I feel Hildegard should actually come up quite a bit more. We discussed her in two different classes, and I see references to her in erudite material pretty frequently. Plus, as far as I've encountered, people actually seem to know her.

Much of this is subjective, of course, so feel free to ignore it, but it seems to me that, for the most part, it's just things coming up that should, not any causative tie to ACF Nationals.
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Re: How to get better/study for PACE

Post by The Atom Strikes! » Mon Dec 07, 2009 4:05 am

Look, I'm not suggesting that the authors of NSC deliberately extract things from the Nationals of that year-- because that really would be silly. It's just that most of the authors of NSC are also packet authors for ACF Nationals, they would likely find a number of the same things important, and so forth. This really isn't a problem, and it did not prevent the NSC from being the excellent and enjoyable set that it was. I haven't done a large-scale comparison between multiple years of the NSC and ACF Nats because I'm not exactly sure how I would go about making said point statistically, and because I really don't care all that much-- I'm not trying to point out a large-scale problem of any sort. Perhaps I would have been better-disposed to say something like: "make sure that you've read enough contemporary collegiate packet-writing that you're familiar with some of the popular fads and conventions of the time." Like it or not, writers often have certain common interests and preferences, and it will often be somewhat possible to gain some advantage based on knowledge of that. I know that this is not an ideal quizbowl state, and we'd all like to think that it's not at all true. However, we all know that it is-- just look at the popularization of Edwidge Danticat, or how "Fenimore Cooper's Literary Offenses" went from never-asked-before to high school bonus part within a year. It's disingenuous of us to pretend otherwise to less-experienced people who ask us questions.
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Re: How to get better/study for PACE

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Mon Dec 07, 2009 4:22 am

Again, you keep bringing up examples that are actually important to the academy, or are irrelevant to the discussion (Danticat, since there's not any acceptable way for her to come up in high school). Fenimore Cooper's Literary Offenses is not an obscure essay that suddenly creeped it's way into the canon because it was a Gaddis tossup. I guarantee you that whoever wrote the bonus on it choose to write it because it's a widely collected essay that a high schooler who likes Mark Twain might have read (and which I've even heard of being taught in high school classes, even though by itself that's not the greatest criteria). Look, we get it, there is a problem of things that are too hard creeping down from the upper levels of college quizbowl because people have some trouble figuring out the difference. There's also such a thing as things that are objectively important and worth asking about coming up at all levels of quizbowl because they are important, and it's not because writers are biasing the sets to their interests that they come up. So far, I have not seen an actual example of something that reading ACF Nationals would have helped you learning for PACE in a way that actually learning important things about important topics wouldn't. As such, I don't think that studying ACF Nationals packets is that great a use of your time, as opposed to figuring out what kinds of topics are important and likely to come up at the level of a high school national tournament, then researching them.
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Re: How to get better/study for PACE

Post by The Atom Strikes! » Mon Dec 07, 2009 5:00 am

Charlie, I'm not arguing that the things that have been mentioned are not of academic importance. (I would also disagree that the Danticat example was irrelevant-- I'm pretty sure that she was asked about at least a few times at high school events last year, and converted by a number of people. She's experiencing backlash now, and probably won't be appearing again in HS, but I imagine that some other similar author will move in and occupy the same sort of space.) Easter 1916, Hildegard, and so forth are certainly important. I'm also not trying to argue that going out and learning about those important things in other ways would not have gained me the same knowledge. The thing is, there are an enormous range of other things that are also academically important. A lot of them are not frequently asked about in quizbowl-- my Frank Jackson example above is such a case. Reading college packet archives often points you to things that are both important and currently on the minds of quizbowl players. I'm not a robot player, but I do often find checking out things in the archive to be useful for getting jumping-off points for real learning-- for example, seeing the tossup on Easter, 1916 inspired me to go and read the poem in question. I'm not advocating blind memorization and exclusive use of a packet archive for studying-- such a strategy is limited in scope, runs against the spirit of the game, and is incredibly dull. I'm simply suggesting that taking a look at what people have already written about can be useful for finding direction.

I would also like to note that the empirical evidence is in my favor in this case. I was the second-highest scorer at the last NSC and my team won the title. I obviously know something about how to effectively prepare for this tournament.
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Re: How to get better/study for PACE

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Mon Dec 07, 2009 5:19 am

Danticat came up once ever in a high school set, at the NNT, according to my search of the packet archives, and that was a set that, while pretty good in general, was rightly criticized for relying too much on asking about things that were way too hard because it came up once before in hard college tournaments (I believe this was the same tournament with a question on DLVO). That Danticat came up once in high school is rather tragic, but to claim that she came up "a few times" in high school last year means you are clearly blurring the lines between high school and college sets, since every high school set that wasn't edited by people clearly drawing some of their answers from recent college opens had no mention of her.
While your empirical evidence is nice, there is also the empirical fact that I wrote questions for the NSC, and never in my writing did I write using clues I was drawing out of my own experiences with high-end college quizbowl, and the head editor has also come on and basically said the same thing. While I won't criticize reading ACF Nationals to prepare in general, as it was something I did in high school to learn more, when I was playing the NSC or the HSNCT I found that very little of the material in those sets was helpful when it came to answering questions, and that instead the best payoff as far as things to practice on was on college "regular" level packets (and this was by a landslide), plus the method I've already outlined of researching important things on your own. If material that is only found in ACF Nationals is really helping teams get lots of points in the NSC, then something is wrong with the NSC set.
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Re: How to get better/study for PACE

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Mon Dec 07, 2009 11:34 am

Henry, most of the writers of NSC are also packet authors or co-authors for [ACF Fall | Penn Bowl | Terrapin | MUT | Winter | Regionals] (or the editors of those tournaments. If you're seeking to figure out a writer's deepest secret preferences, those are just as good tournaments to look at. Here's the bonus you get on the side: in addition to learning about (to give an invented example) Mehdi's unhealthy obsession with Tatlin, you get to learn about a hundred other things that would come up at NSC. The rate at which clues and answer lines are common between Fall or Winter and NSC is hugely higher than Nationals and NSC. This is simply forced to be true by the fact that there can be tossups on adiabatic demagnetization at Nationals, and you can't reuse any of those too easily for NSC.
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Re: How to get better/study for PACE

Post by kayli » Mon Dec 07, 2009 1:44 pm

I'll throw my two cents in here:

I think that it is indeed possible for things that come out of ACF Nationals to seep into NSC because it is hard to come up with perfectly fresh ideas especially when some clues or questions are really ingrained in your mind (as can likely happen when someone sits through an especially intriguing class or hears an especially intriguing question come up before). But, I don't believe that merely studying ACF Nationals before going to NSC is one of the better techniques. Certain topics from ACF Nationals are simply too hard, as many have pointed out before. I'd say for every 1 semi-askable tossup at ACF Nationals there are a good 7 or 8 unaskable ones. However, a direct correlation between ACF Nationals packet reading and high scoring at NSC scoring is likely undeniable. This, however, does not prove the causation. It's quite probable that those who study ACF Nationals before NSC are those who have studied many previous sets from college and high school. Studying ACF Nationals would likely have cemented in knowledge gained from those tournaments. It would also have kept harder clues fresher in one's mind.

To summarize my points:
Very few clues from ACF Nationals are askable in high school (even on the national stage).
There is a correlation between studying ACF Nationals and high scoring at PACE NSC.
The correlation is likely due to the fact that the set of people who study ACF Nationals also belong in the set of people who study other sets or are considered "pretty good at quizbowl."
Studying ACF Nationals can help one cement knowledge gained from reading and hearing previous questions.
Finally, if you haven't read easier packets previously, study those. If you have read a good amount of packets before, study ACF Nationals.
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Re: How to get better/study for PACE

Post by Tanay » Mon Dec 07, 2009 4:45 pm

There's probably more overlap between NSC and ACF Fall/Winter than NSC and ACF Regionals/Nationals. Nobody's discouraging anyone from studying ACF Nationals, but in terms of preparing for a high school national tournament, an early-season college tournament (ACF Fall or Winter) is probably the optimal starting point. If it's too hard (which it may be for some teams), you can play some good high school sets and work your way up. If it's not too hard (likely the case for Henry and some others posting here), then ACF Nationals seems like a perfectly logical way to prepare.
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Re: How to get better/study for PACE

Post by Nuclear Densometer Test » Mon Dec 07, 2009 5:16 pm

If you want my two cents, read all of the ACF Fall sets as well as MUT, EFT, Penn Bowl, and maybe Terrapin.
Amit Bilgi
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Re: How to get better/study for PACE

Post by grapesmoker » Thu Dec 10, 2009 9:52 pm

Jeremy Gibbs Free Energy wrote:Yes, because all kinds of people study Hildegard outside of quizbowl.
Not all kinds of high school students, that's for sure.
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Re: How to get better/study for PACE

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Thu Dec 10, 2009 10:30 pm

I would agree Hildegard shouldn't be coming up in a high school set, I just think that her appearing wouldn't need to be predicated on an appearance at ACF Nationals, because she is in fact an intrinsically important figure that lots of people learn about in basic music history or in books that survey music history, and not because shes a random figure who's not important outside of appearing in a packet.
Charlie Dees, North Kansas City HS '08
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Re: How to get better/study for PACE

Post by DumbJaques » Fri Dec 11, 2009 4:13 pm

Allow me to conclude this line of discussion by stating unequivocally that the 2010 NSC will be written with absolutely no consideration of the content of ACF Nationals (in 2010, or at any other time). 2010 NSC will be a high school national championship, reflecting an appropriate difficulty progression from the 2009-10 regular season canon. Expansions in difficulty will be the product of things going up from high school material, not trickling down from the latest in TOR buzzing.
Chris Ray
OSU
University of Chicago, 2016
University of Maryland, 2014
ACF, PACE

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