author={Maxim Kontsevich},
Some time ago B. Feigin, V. Retakh and I had tried to understand a remark of J. Stasheff [S1] on open string theory and higher associative algebras [S2]. Then I found a strange construction of cohomology classes of mapping class groups using as initial data any differential graded algebra with finite-dimensional cohomology and a kind of Poincare duality. 
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