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ICNRG                                                        C. Tschudin
Internet-Draft                                       University of Basel
Intended status: Informational                                   C. Wood
Expires: June 29, 2018                   University of California Irvine
December 26, 2017

File-Like ICN Collection (FLIC)
draft-irtf-icnrg-flic-01

Abstract

This document describes a bare bones "index table"-approach for
organizing a set of ICN data objects into a large, File-Like ICN
Collection (FLIC).

At the core of this collection is a so called manifest which acts as
the collection's root node.  The manifest contains an index table
with pointers, each pointer being a hash value pointing to either a
final data block or another index table node.

Status of This Memo

This Internet-Draft is submitted in full conformance with the
provisions of BCP 78 and BCP 79.

Internet-Drafts are working documents of the Internet Engineering
Task Force (IETF).  Note that other groups may also distribute
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Drafts is at http://datatracker.ietf.org/drafts/current/.

Internet-Drafts are draft documents valid for a maximum of six months
and may be updated, replaced, or obsoleted by other documents at any
time.  It is inappropriate to use Internet-Drafts as reference
material or to cite them other than as "work in progress."

This Internet-Draft will expire on June 29, 2018.

Copyright (c) 2017 IETF Trust and the persons identified as the

This document is subject to BCP 78 and the IETF Trust's Legal
Provisions Relating to IETF Documents
(http://trustee.ietf.org/license-info) in effect on the date of
publication of this document.  Please review these documents
carefully, as they describe your rights and restrictions with respect

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to this document.  Code Components extracted from this document must
include Simplified BSD License text as described in Section 4.e of
the Trust Legal Provisions and are provided without warranty as
described in the Simplified BSD License.

1.  Introduction  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   2
1.1.  FLIC as a Distributed Data Structure  . . . . . . . . . .   3
1.2.  Design goals  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   3
2.  File-Like ICN Collection (FLIC) Format  . . . . . . . . . . .   4
2.1.  Use of hash-valued pointers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
2.2.  Creating a FLIC data structure  . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
2.3.  Reconstructing the collection's data  . . . . . . . . . .   7
2.4.  Metadata and Extensibility  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   8
2.5.  FLIC Encryption . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   9
2.6.  Locating FLIC leaf and manifest nodes . . . . . . . . . .  10
3.  Advanced uses of FLIC manifests . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  10
3.1.  Seeking . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  11
3.2.  Block-level de-duplication  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  12
3.3.  Growing ICN collections . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  12
3.4.  Re-publishing a FLIC under a new name . . . . . . . . . .  12
3.5.  Data Chunks of variable size  . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  13
4.  Encoding  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  13
4.1.  Example Encoding for CCNx1.0  . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  13
4.2.  Example Encoding for NDN  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  14
5.  Security Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  15
6.  References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  15
6.1.  Normative References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  15
6.2.  URIs  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  15
Authors' Addresses  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  15

1.  Introduction

ICN architectures such as Content-Centric Networking (CCN)
[I-D.irtf-icnrg-ccnxsemantics] and Named Data Networking
[NamedDataNetworking] are well suited for static content
distribution.  Each piece of (possibly immutable) static content is
assigned a name by its producer.  Consumers fetch this content using
said name.  Optionally, consumers may specify the full name of
content, which includes its name and a unique (with overwhelming
probability) cryptographic digest of said content.  (See
[I-D.irtf-icnrg-terminology] for a formal definition of "full name".)

To enable requests with full names, consumers need a priori knowledge
of content digests.  Manifests, or catalogs, are data structures
commonly proposed to transport this information.  Typically,
manifests are signed content objects (data) which carry a collection

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of hash digests.  However, as content objects, manifests themselves
may be fetched by full name.  Thus, manifests may contain hash
digests of, or pointers to, other manifests or content objects.  A
collection of manifests and content objects represents a large piece
of application data, e.g., one that cannot otherwise fit in a single
content object.

Structurally, this relationship between manifests and content objects
is reminiscent of the UNIX inode concept with index tables and memory
pointers.  In this document, we specify a simple, yet extensible,
manifest data structure called FLIC - File-Like ICN Collection.  FLIC
is suitable for ICNs such as CCN and NDN.  We describe the FLIC
design, grammar, and various use cases, e.g., seeking, de-
duplication, extension, and variable-sized encoding.  We also include
FLIC encoding examples for CCN and NDN.

1.1.  FLIC as a Distributed Data Structure

FLIC is a distributed data structure best illustrated by the
following picture.

root manifest
.------------------------------------.
| optional name:                     |
|   /icn/name/of/this/flic           |
|                                    |
| HashGroup (HG):                    |
|     overall digest, locator, etc.  |    .------.
|   hash-valued (data) pointer ---------> | data |
|     ...                            |    ------'  sub manifest
|   hash-valued (manifest) pointer ----.     .------------------.
|                                    |  --> |                ----->
| optional additional HashGroups ..  |       |                ----->
|                                    |       ------------------'
| optional signature                 |
------------------------------------'

Figure 1: A FLIC manifest and its directed acyclic graph

1.2.  Design goals

o  Copy the proven UNIX inode concept:

*  index tables and memory pointers

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*  hash values instead of block numbers, unique with high
probability

*  single root manifest signature covers all elements of the full
collection, including intermediate sub manifests

*  eliminate reference to chunk numbering schemata (hash values
only)

*  supports block-level de-duplication (can lead to a directed
acyclic graph, or DAG, instead of a tree)

o  Limitations

*  All data leafs must be present at manifest creation time
(otherwise one cannot compute the pointers)

o  Potential extensions (for study):

*  Enhance the manifest such that it can serve as a "database
cursor" or as a cursor over a time series, e.g. having entries
for "previous" and "next" collections.

2.  File-Like ICN Collection (FLIC) Format

The core of a FLIC node is the sequence of "hash groups".  Each hash
group (HG) consists of a sequence of pointers.  Pointers are
cryptographic HashValues encoded according
[I-D.irtf-icnrg-ccnxmessages].  Specifically, a HashValue specifies a
hash algorithm and digest value.  A HashGroup can contain a metadata
section to help a reader to optimize content retrieval via, e.g.,
block size of leaf nodes, total size, overall digest, etc.

Based on this description, FLIC encoding in EBN notation is as
follows:

Node       := Name? Metadata? (Opqaue | HashGroup+)

Ptr        := HashValue

HashValue  := See {{I-D.irtf-icnrg-ccnxmessages}}

Property   := SizePerPtr | SecurityCtx | Locator | OverallByteCount | OverallDataDigest | ...

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Note that all sizes are 64-bit unsigned integers.

A description of each field follows:

o  Node: A structure with optional name, metadata, and collection of
hashgroups or an opaque, encrypted blob.  Encrypted FLIC nodes are
discussed in Section Section 2.5.

o  HashGroup: A collection of pointers (Ptr) and optional metadata.

o  Ptr: A wrapper around a HashValue.

o  HashValue: A structure specifying hash algorithm and cryptographic
hash digest.

o  MetaData: A collection of Property values.

o  Property: A well-defined FLIC extension.  By default, SizePerPtr,
property extensions are supported.  Each of these properties are
described in more detail in Section Section 2.4.

Lastly, no ICN objects used in FLIC are allowed to be chunked,
including the (sub-) manifests.  The smallest possible complete
manifest contains one HashGroup with one pointer to an ICN object.

2.1.  Use of hash-valued pointers

FLIC's tree data structure is a generalized index table as it is
known from file systems.  The pointers, which in an OS typically are
hard disk block numbers, are replaced by hash values of other ICN
objects.  These ICN objects contain either other manifest nodes, or
leaf nodes.  Leafs contain the actual data of the collection.  Each
pointer explicitly indicates the amount of application data bytes
contained by the referred object.  For example, the size of a data
pointer (to a leaf) represents the size of the leaf's content object
payload.  Conversely, the size of a manifest pointer represents the
total size of all pointers contained in that manifest.

FLIC makes use of "nameless ICN object" where the network is tasked
with fetching an object based on its digest only.  The interest for
such an object consists of a routing hint (locator) plus the given
digest value.

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2.2.  Creating a FLIC data structure

Starting from the original content, the corresponding byte array is
sliced into chunks.  Each chunk is encoded as a data object,
according the ICN suite.  For each resulting data object, the hash
value is computed.  Groups of consecutive objects are formed and the
corresponding hash values collected in manifests, which are also
encoded.  The hash values of the manifest objects replace the hash
values of the covered leaf nodes, thus reducing the number of hash
values.  This process of hash value collection and replacement is
repeated until only one (root) manifest is left.

data1 <-- h1  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  - \
data2 <-- h2 \                                    root mfst
...            mfst 1 <-- hN+1  \                /
dataJ <-- hJ /                    mfst2 <-- hN+2
...                              /
dataN <-- hN  -  -  -  -  -  -  /

Of special interest are "skewed trees" where a pointer to a manifest
may only appear as last pointer of (sub-) manifests.  Such a tree
becomes a sequential list of manifests with a maximum of datapointers
per manifest packet.  Beside the tree shape we also show this data
structure in form of packet content where D stands for a data pointer
and M is the hash of a manifest packet.

data1   <-- h1  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  root mfst
...                                    /
dataJ-1 <-- hJ-1                      /
dataJ   <-- hJ  -  -  mfst1 <-- hN+1 /
...                /
dataN   <-- hN  - /

DDDDDDM--> DDDDDDM--> ....... DDDDDDM--> DDDDDDD

A pseudo code description for producing a skewed tree follows below.

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Input:
Application data D of size |D| (bytes)
Block size B (in bytes)
Output:
FLIC root node R
Algo:
n = number of leaf nodes = ceil(|D| / B)
k = number of (encoded) hash values fitting in a block of size B
H[1..n] = array of hash values
initialized with the data hash values for data chunks 1..n
While n > k do
a)  create manifest M with a HashGroup
b)  append to the HashGroup in M all hash values H[n-k+1..n]
c)  n = n - k + 1
d)  H[n] = manifest hash value of M
Create root manifest R with a HashGroup
Add to the HashGroup of R all hash values H[1..n]
Optionally: add name to R, sign manifest R
Output R

Obtaining with each manifest a maximum of data pointers is beneficial
All data pointers coming before that offset have to be fetched before
locating the block of interest.  For random access, binary trees
(where both subtrees of a node cover half of the content bytes) are
better suited.  This can be combined with the "skewed tree" approach:
Manifests of intermediate nodes are filled with data pointers except
for the last two slots.  The second last slot points to a manifest
for the "first half" of the left content, the last slots then points
to a manifest for the rest.

root manifest=     DDDDDMM
____________/  \_____
/                     \
DDDDDMM                DDDDDMM
_______/  \              _____/  \
/           \            /         \
DDDDDDD      DDDDDDD     DDDDDDD    DDDDDDD

This can be generalized to k-ary trees by allocating k pointers per

2.3.  Reconstructing the collection's data

To fetch the data associated with a given FLIC (sub-) manifest, the
receiver sequentially works through all entries found in the
HashGroups and issues corresponding hash-based interests.  In case of

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a data hash pointer, the received content object is appended.  In
case of a manifest hash pointer, this procedure is called recursively
for the received manifest.  In other words, the collection data is
represented as the concatenation of data leaves from this _pre-order_
depth-first search (DFS) traversal strategy of the manifest tree.
(Currently, pre-order DFS is the only supported traversal strategy.)
This procedure works regardless of the tree's shape.

A pseudo code description for fetching is below.

Input:
Root manifest R
Output:
Application data D
Algo:
global D = []
DFS(R)
Output D

where:

procedure DFS(M)
{
L:
H = sequence of hash valued pointers of M
foreach p in H do:
if p is a data pointer then
data = lookup(p)
Append data to D
else
M = lookup(p)
if p is last element in H then
goto L;   // tail recursion
DFS(M)
}

The above DFS code works for FLIC manifest trees of arbitrary shape.
In case of a skewed tree, no recursion is needed and a single
instance of the DFS procedure suffices (i.e., one uses tail
recursion).

In FLIC, metadata is linked to FLIC nodes or HashGroups informs FLIC
data bytes and overall hash digest (this is akin to a Merkle hash).
The intent of such metadata is to enable an in-network retriever to
optimize its operation.

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The list of available metadata is below.

* SizePerPtr - size of application data encoded in each HashGroup pointer.

* SecurityCtx - pointer to an application-specific security context blob.
For example, this point to a content object carrying an encrypted symmetric
key used to decrypt the parent FLIC node.

* Locator - provides a new routing hint (name prefix) where the
chunks of this hash group can be retrieved from. The default is to
use the locator of the root manifest.

* OverallByteCount - indicates the total number of *application
data bytes* contained in a single HashGroup. This does not include
bytes consumed by child manifests. This value is equal to the sum of
all pointer sizes contained in the HashGroup.

* OverallDataDigest - expresses the overall digest of all application
data contained in the HashGroup.

HashGroups SHOULD carry the SizePerPtr metadata property.  This value
indicates the total number of application bytes contained within each
pointer in the hash group _except for the last pointer._

Applications MAY extend FLIC via new metadata values.  Example
extensions include: media type, timestamp, author, copyright, etc.
Each new metadata extension MUST be allocated a unique codepoint to
avoid parsing errors.

2.5.  FLIC Encryption

FLIC nodes may be encrypted using an application-specific scheme.
When encrypted with external keying material, FLICs SHOULD carry a
SecurityCtx metadata value which points to application-specific
keying material.  Receivers SHOULD fetch this context and use it to
obtain one or more keys needed to decrypt FLIC nodes.  Upon decrypt,
FLIC nodes MUST be parsed as plaintext FLIC nodes.  That is, it is an
error if FLIC node decryption yields a structure that is not a FLIC
node.  Receivers must be able to decrypt content objects pointed to
from an encrypted FLIC node using keying material associated with
said FLIC node.  (Recall that content objects do not carry any
metadata fields, thus, any security-related information such as
keying material must be delivered by parent FLIC nodes or some other
means.)

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2.6.  Locating FLIC leaf and manifest nodes

The optional name of a manifest is a mere decoration and has no
locator functionality at all: All objects pointed to by a manifest
obtained from (which is not necessarily its name).  Example:

Objects:
manifest(name=/a/b/c, ptr=h1, ptr=hN)  - has hash h0
nameless(data1)                        - has hash h1
...
nameless(dataN)                        - has hash hN

Query for the manifest:
interest(name=/the/locator/hint, implicitDigest=h0)

In this example, the name "/a/b/c" does NOT override "/the/locator/
hint" i.e., after having obtained the manifest, the retriever will
issue requests for

interest(name=/the/locator/hint, implicitDigest=h1)
...
interest(name=/the/locator/hint, implicitDigest=hN)

Using the locator metadata entry, this behavior can be changed:

Objects:
manifest(name=/a/b/c,
hashgroup(loc=/x/y/z, ptr=h1)
hashgroup(ptr=h2)             - has hash h0
nameless(data1)                        - has hash h1
nameless(data2)                        - has hash h2

Queries:
interest(name=/the/locator/hint, implicitDigest=h0)
interest(name=/x/y/z, implicitDigest=h1)
interest(name=/the/locator/hint, implicitDigest=h2)

3.  Advanced uses of FLIC manifests

The FLIC mechanics has uses cases beyond keeping together a set of
data objects, such as: seeking, block-level de-duplication, re-
publishing under a new name, growing ICN collections, and supporting
FLICs with different block sizes.

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3.1.  Seeking

Fast seeking (without having to sequentially fetch all content) works
by skipping over entries for which we know their size.  The following
expression shows how to compute the byte offset of the data pointed
at by pointer P_i, offset_i.  In this formula, let P_i represent the
Size value of the i-th pointer.

offset_i = \sum_{i = 1}^{i - 1} P_i.size

With this offset, seeking is done as follows:

Input: seek_pos P, a FLIC manifest with a hash group having N entries
Output: pointer index i and byte offset o, or out-of-range error
Algo:
offset = 0
for i in 1..N do
if (P < P_i.size)
return (i, P - offset)
offset += P_i.size
return out-of-range

Seeking in a BlockHashGroup is different since offsets can be quickly
computed.  This is because the size of each pointer P_i except the
last is equal to the SizePerPtr value.  For a BlockHashGroup with N
pointers, OverallByteCount D, and SizePerPointer L, the size of P_i
is equal to the following:

D - ((i - 1) * L)

In a BlockHashGroup with k pointers, the size of P_k is equal to:

D - L * (k - 1)

Using these, the seeking algorithm can be thus simplified to the
following:

Input: seek_pos P, a FLIC manifest with a hash group having
OverallByteCount S and SizePerPointer L.
Output: pointer index i and byte offset o, or out-of-range error
Algo:
if (P > S)
return out-of-range
i = floor(P / L)
if (i > N)
return out-of-range # bad FLIC encoding
o = P mod L
return (i, o)

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Note: In both cases, if the pointer at position i is a manifest
pointer, this algorithm has to be called once more, seeking to
seek_pos o inside that manifest.

3.2.  Block-level de-duplication

Consider a huge file, e.g. an ISO image of a DVD or program in binary
form, that had previously been FLIC-ed but now needs to be patched.
In this case, all existing encoded ICN chunks can remain in the
repository while only the chunks for the patch itself is added to a
new manifest data structure, as is shown in the picture below.  For
example, the venti [1] archival file system of Plan9 uses this
technique.

old_mfst -  - > h1 --> oldData1  <-- h1 < -  -  new_mfst
\  - > h2 --> oldData2  <-- h2 < -  - /
\            replace3  <-- h5 < -  -/
\- > h3 --> oldData3              /
\ > h4 --> oldData4  <-- h4 < - /

3.3.  Growing ICN collections

A log file, for example, grows over time.  Instead of having to re-
FLIC the grown file it suffices to construct a new manifest with a
manifest pointer to the old root manifest plus the sequence of data
hash pointers for the new data (or additional sub-manifests if
necessary).  Note that this tree will not be skewed (anymore).

old data < -  -  -  mfst_old <-- h_old -  - mfst_new
/
new data1 <-- h_1 -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -/
new data2                                 /
...                                      /
new dataN <-- h_N -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -/

3.4.  Re-publishing a FLIC under a new name

It can happen that a publisher's namespace is part of a service
provider's prefix.  When switching provider, the publisher may want
to republish the old data under a new name.  This can easily be
achieved with a single nameless root manifest for the large FLIC plus
arbitrarily many per-name manifests (which are signed by whomever
wants to publish this data):

data < - nameless_mfst() <-- h  < - mfst(/com/parc/east/the/flic)
< - mfst(/com/parc/west/old/the/flic)
< - mfst(/internet/archive/flic234)

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Note that the hash computation (of h) only requires reading the
nameless root manifest, not the entire FLIC.

This example points out the problem of HashGroups having locator
which are "hardcoded" deep inside the FLIC but might have become
outdated.  We therefore recommend to name FLIC manifests only at the
highest level (where these names have no locator function).  Child
nodes in a FLIC manifest should not be named as these names serve no
purpose except retrieving a sub-tree's manifest by name, if would be
required.

3.5.  Data Chunks of variable size

If chunks do not have regular (block) sizes, the HashGroup can be
used to still convey to a reader the length of the chunks at the
manifest level.  (This can be computed based on the size of pointers,
but the metadata field makes this determination simpler.)  Example
use cases would be chunks each carrying a single ASCII line as
entered by a user or a database with variable length records mapped
to chunks.

M = (manifest
...
)

4.  Encoding

We express the packet encoding of manifests in a symbolic expression
style in order to show the TLV structure and the chosen type values.
In this notation, a TLV's type is a combination of "SymbolicName/
Tvalue", Length is not shown and Values are sub-expressions.
Moreover, we populate the data structure with all possible entries
and omit repetition.

4.1.  Example Encoding for CCNx1.0

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(ManifestMsg/T_MANIFEST
(Name/T_NAME ...)
(HashGroup/T_HASHGROUP
)
(SizeDataPtr/T_HASHGROUP_SIZEDATAPTR OCTET[8] (T_HASH ...))
(SizeMfstPtr/T_HASHGROUP_SIZEMANIFESTPTR OCTET[8] (T_HASH ...))
)
(BlockHashGroup/T_BLOCKHASHGROUP
(DataPtr/T_HASHGROUP_DATAPTR OCTET[32] (T_HASH ...))
(MfstPtr/T_HASHGROUP_MANIFESTPTR OCTET[32] (T_HASH ...))
)
)

Interest: name is locator, use objHashRestriction as selector.

4.2.  Example Encoding for NDN

The assigned NDN content type value for FLIC manifests is 1024
(0x400).

(Data/0x6
(Name/0x7 ...)
(MetaInfo/0x14
(ContentType/0x18 0x0400)
)
(Content/0x15
(HashGroup/0xC0
(MetaInfo/0x14
(LocatorNm/0xC3 (NameComp/0x8 ...))
(OverallByteCount/0xC5 INT)
)
(DataPtr/0xC1 OCTET[8] OCTET[32])
(MfstPtr/0xC2 OCTET[8] OCTET[32])
(SizeDataPtr/0xC3 OCTET[32])
(SizeMfstPtr/0xC4 OCTET[32])
)
)
(SignatureInfo/0x16 ...)
(SignatureValue/0x17 ...)
)

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Interest: name is locator, use implicitDigest name component as
selector.

5.  Security Considerations

None.

6.  References

6.1.  Normative References

[I-D.irtf-icnrg-ccnxmessages]
Mosko, M., Solis, I., and C. Wood, "CCNx Messages in TLV
Format", draft-irtf-icnrg-ccnxmessages-06 (work in
progress), October 2017.

[I-D.irtf-icnrg-ccnxsemantics]
Mosko, M., Solis, I., and C. Wood, "CCNx Semantics",
draft-irtf-icnrg-ccnxsemantics-06 (work in progress),
October 2017.

[I-D.irtf-icnrg-terminology]
Wissingh, B., Wood, C., Afanasyev, A., Zhang, L., Oran,
D., and C. Tschudin, "Information-Centric Networking
(ICN): CCN and NDN Terminology", draft-irtf-icnrg-
terminology-00 (work in progress), December 2017.

[NamedDataNetworking]
PARC, ., LinkedIn, ., and . PARC, "CCNx Messages in TLV
Format", n.d., <https://datatracker.ietf.org/doc/draft-
irtf-icnrg-ccnxmessages/>.

6.2.  URIs

[1] http://plan9.bell-labs.com/sys/doc/venti/venti.pdf

Christian Tschudin
University of Basel

Email: christian.tschudin@unibas.ch

Christopher A. Wood
University of California Irvine

Email: woodc1@uci.edu

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