SIAT - Theses, Dissertations, and other Required Graduate Degree Essays

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Symbiogenic Experience and the Emergent Arts: Cybernetics, Art and Existential Phenomenology

Date created: 
2014-03-31
Abstract: 

This dissertation is an exploration of the ways in which certain forms of interactive art can and do elicit experiences of co-evolution with a technologized environment. These "emergent arts", I argue, give rise to a sensory experience of a sense of being embedded and co-emergent with this environment. The term "co-evolution" is often taken to allude to Darwin biological processes of interaction between two or more species. However, much like humanities scholars such as Katherine Hayles and Mark Hansen do in their analyses of technology (Hayles 1999; Hayles 2002; Hayles 2007; Hansen 2006; Hansen 2005; Hansen 2009a), I recast the term to refer to processes of emergence, self-organization and autopoiesis. By examining these artworks and experiences via the interlocking frames of cybernetics, phenomenological philosophy, posthumanism and interactive/new media art, this dissertation articulates the movement towards a framework that fuses theoretical and experiential modes of inquiry to provide insights relevant to both interactive artists and humanities scholars. New approaches to understanding and studying technologically-based artworks are proffered that attend to how these artworks are contributing to a new range of experiences that more adeptly attune us to our techno-ecological context. Experiences that I refer to as "symbiogenic". The framework centers on the exposition of four theoretical concepts: Ambiguity and Unknowability, Boundary, Distributed Intentionality and Collectively Emergent Autonomy. In addition, a taxonomical model of artworks is put forth that outlines a number of characteristics of new media and interactive arts practice that engage in processes that establish a foundation for the shifts in perceptual and embodied experience that I characterize as symbiogenic. Along with the textual exegesis, this dissertation details the conceptualization, design, construction and exhibition of two interactive artworks: Protocol and Biopoiesis. Their function in this research is threefold: first as a concrete method of putting theories to the ontological test beyond conventional textual means, second, a way developing new concepts and techniques and modifying existing ones (this applies to both the philosophical ideas and to the technical systems that are developed specifically for each artwork) and third they serve as embodiments of theoretical concepts in their own right.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Diane Gromala
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Interactive Arts and Technology
Thesis type: 
(Dissertation) Ph.D.

Exploring Aesthetic Visualization for Promoting Consumer Energy Conservation

Author: 
Date created: 
2014-03-21
Abstract: 

Consumer awareness of energy use and their act in energy conservation are inextricably linked because the former enables informed decision-making and motivates behaviour change. Various feedback techniques have been developed to increase consumer knowledge and problems with traditional methods such as pragmatic charts are the lack of engagingness and integrity with the context. As an alternative, we explore the effectiveness and utility of using aesthetic visualization as feedback for consumer energy use, as we believe its more attractive display will increase aesthetic interest and better fit with the environment. In our two-staged study, we first investigate its effectiveness in comprehension and then further explore its ability in supporting decision-making and understanding within a simulated gaming context. We conclude that aesthetic visualization is a promising approach due to its advantage of engaging people with visually interesting display while maintaining comprehensibility, supporting at-a-glance awareness and enabling informed decision-making.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Lyn Bartram
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Interactive Arts and Technology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.Sc.

Programming in the model: A new perspective on scripting in CAD systems

Date created: 
2014-04-04
Abstract: 

Scripting has become an integral part of design work in computer-aided design (CAD), especially with parametric systems. Designers who script face a steep learning and use curve due to the new (to them) script notation and the loss of direct manipulation of the model. Programming In the Model (PIM) is a prototype parametric CAD system with a live interface with side-by-side model and script windows; real-time updating of the script and the model; on-demand dependency, object and script representations in the model; and operation preview (lookahead). These features aim to break the steep learning and use curve of scripting into small steps and to bring programming and modeling tasks ‘closer together.’ A qualitative user study with domain experts and a focus group with HCI experts shows the importance of multi-directional live scripting and script localization within the model. Other PIM features show promise but require additional design work to create a better user experience.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Robert Woodbury
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Interactive Arts and Technology
Thesis type: 
(Dissertation) Ph.D.

Collaborative Visual Analytics for public health: facilitating problem solving and supporting decision-making

Author: 
Date created: 
2014-04-23
Abstract: 

With advancement in information technology, health data are collected at an unprecedented rate. Accurate understanding, analysis and interpretation of complex, multidimensional data is critical to understand wicked health problems to make timely decisions and interventions. Injury problems as classified as wicked health problems, they are associated with numerous individual, social, environmental and policy related factors. Wicked injury problems are multidimensional and require a multidisciplinary approach for effective solutions. We studied the integration of Visual Analytics (VA) methods to solve wicked injury problems. The science of VA leverages information visualization techniques and computational analysis methods to facilitate understanding of heterogeneous data and support decisions about dynamic injury situations. We designed a proof-of-concept prototype - interactive Analytical Injury Dashboard (iAID) and demonstrated its application with injury stakeholders, using Canadian CHIRPP injury data. We adopted the Paired Analytics (PA) methodology to assess the interface design, layout and functionality of the iAID. Inspired by the Delphi method, the study adapted (PA) methodology and introduced a novel methodology - Group Analytics (GA), which was pilot tested and refined for the final research study design. GA was used to evaluate the impact of collaborative VA on facilitating problem solving and supporting decision-making within the injury sector. We conducted seven PA sessions and two GA sessions. Data included stakeholders observations, audio and video recordings, questionnaires and follow up interviews, and were analyzed to gain in-depth understanding of the collaborative VA process and its impact on problem solving and decision-making. Results demonstrated that iAID helped injury stakeholders to convert data into useful information, facilitate task completion, and support problem solving and decision-making. Based on the Joint Activity Theory and distributed cognition framework, analysis revealed that GA triggered the emergence of Common Ground among stakeholders, which evolved throughout the GA sessions to enhance their interactions, communication, coordination of joint activities and ultimately their collaboration on problem solving and decision-making. These findings will help inform the design of innovative VA tools that assist health professionals in analyzing and interpreting complex health data, and will introduce new metrics to enhance group collaboration to support timely decisions and actions.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Dr. Brian Fisher
Dr. Ian Pike
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Interactive Arts and Technology
Thesis type: 
(Dissertation) Ph.D.

Quality-aware Service-Oriented Software Product Lines: Feature-Driven Process Configuration and Optimization

Author: 
Date created: 
2013-12-10
Abstract: 

Research initiative in Service-Oriented Computing aims at developing adaptable and scalable distributed applications and addressing challenges such as application integration, reusability, modularity, and interoperability. Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) as an architectural style enables organizations to offer their application functionality as a service and enhance the adaptability to changes of new requirements of stakeholders, i.e., service consumers. Nowadays enterprises and service providers face several challenges to develop SOA-based solutions. They indispensably require to effectively manage variability in both functional and non-functional (quality) requirements at the business process level to rapidly and cost-effectively develop and deploy customized services that best meet the stakeholders' feature needs. SOAs provide the architectural underpinnings to support software reuse and enable variability at both design and run-time; however, they lack support to manage variability that promotes configurability and customization. Variability modeling and management have been the core research subjects in Software Product Line Engineering (SPLE) with the objective of addressing the issues of engineering and developing software-intensive systems. Combining SPLE and SOAs has been a subject of considerable research interest in recent years to develop highly configurable software systems.In this thesis, we adopt a product-line approach in the service domain and hypothesize that the SPLE paradigm, enabling variability management and systematic planned reuse, can be applied orthogonally to aid Service-Oriented Software Engineering (SOSE) to yield these benefits and construct Service-Oriented Software Product Lines (SOSPLs). We propose the Configurable Process Models as the realization of SOSPLs, where services are the building blocks for the implementation of software features, which provide support for variation among members of a product line configured based on stakeholders' requirements.Our proposed approach provides scalable and efficient automated decision-making support in the course of configuration helping to create tailored software services according to stakeholders’ preferences.The key contributions of this thesis are: (i) a systematic analysis of the state-of-the-art research; (ii) a methodology to support variability modeling and management for the development of an SOSPL; (iii) a quality model and evaluation method; (iv) a framework supporting automatic quality-aware process configuration; and (v) an empirical evaluation of performance and scalability of approach.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Marek Hatala
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Interactive Arts and Technology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Survivance: An Indigenous Social Impact Game

Date created: 
2014-02-07
Abstract: 

Social impact games are on the rise as a means of encouraging social change through gameplay. This dissertation describes the outcomes of playing Survivance (http://www.survivance.org)—an Indigenous social impact game that honors storytelling, art, and self-determination as pathways to healing from historical trauma caused by colonization in Turtle Island (North America). The research addresses a gap in studies that specifically explore the impact of social impact games while uniquely merging Indigenous and Game Studies scholarship.The study focuses on gameplay spread over one year involving ten core players and three validation players. The players are from the urban Indigenous community in Portland, Oregon in the United States of America, where Survivance was developed collaboratively with the non-profit organization Wisdom of the Elders, Inc. as an extension of its multimedia health and wellness curriculum Discovering Our Story. Thus, this research is positioned within Indigenous ways of knowing. It is informed by biskaabiiyang methodology, an Anishinaabe approach of “returning to ourselves.” The survivance framework involves looking at player experiences overall, including their incoming motivations, quest journeys, and “acts of survivance” (any form of self-expression, e.g. a painting, a beadwork medallion, an experimental animation). It leverages Indigenously-determined methods including written reflections, acts of survivance as symbol-based reflection, and conversations.Findings from the Survivance prototype show that intergenerational exchanges of traditions, stories, and art practices are pathways to wellbeing that influence the player’s self; various forms of community; and the greater world; while also fostering a reciprocal relationship with spirit. The study clearly shows that social impact games do make an impact, and goes on to describe this in ways that are relevant to Survivance players.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Ron Wakkary
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Interactive Arts and Technology
Thesis type: 
(Dissertation) Ph.D.

Social Issues, Behaviours and Routines of Ubi-Commerce Users in North America

Date created: 
2014-03-12
Abstract: 

eCommerce has dramatically changed over the last several years, leaving a gap of knowledge around what these changes mean to—and how they affect—the user and their experiences. To address this gap, I collected empirical evidence through three studies. The first looks at mobile web commerce, and focuses heavily on the issue of trust. The second looks at group shopping sites, an example of social commerce. The third study investigates mobile payment services systems and user challenges and successes. Although each study introduces specific design implications, together they expand extant work in traditional eCommerce to include social and mobile aspects and thus contribute new knowledge toward a more ubiquitous commerce (ubi-commerce) experience.I define ubi-commerce as specifically dependent on the recent mass adoption of mobile devices, social engagement online, and new technologies for payment processing. I discuss these ubiquitous forms of commerce as a North American entity only and thus the design implications are meant to be specific only to this region. My original contribution to knowledge consists of new knowledge and description of ubi-commerce user behaviours; six ubi-commerce design implications, derived from empirical evidence gathered from a variety of studies described in this dissertation; and methodological contributions, by applying existing research methods to new situations and contexts.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Carman Neustaedter
John Bowes
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Interactive Arts and Technology
Thesis type: 
(Dissertation) Ph.D.

The Influence of Shading, Display Size and Individual Differences on Navigation Performance in Virtual Reality in an Applied Industry Setting

Date created: 
2013-12-03
Abstract: 

Despite the increasing use of virtual reality within industry and academia, there is a lack of applied usability evaluations within the field. This is problematic for individuals desiring design principles or best practices for incorporating VR into their businesses. The research presented here is a use case study of a virtual reality system used at the Boeing Company for a number of visualization tasks. Twenty eight Boeing employees performed a series of navigation and wayfinding tasks across two shading conditions (flat/smooth) and two display conditions (desktop/immersive). Performance was measured based on speed and accuracy. Individual difference factors were used as covariates. Results showed that women and those with high spatial orientation ability performed faster in smooth shading conditions, while flat shading benefited those with low ability particularly for the navigation task. Unexpectedly, immersive presentation did not improve performance significantly. These results demonstrate the impact of individual differences on spatial performance and help determine appropriate tasks, display parameters, training, and effective users for the VR system.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Bernhard Riecke
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Interactive Arts and Technology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.Sc.

Social Spatial Behavior for 3D Virtual Characters

Date created: 
2013-12-02
Abstract: 

This thesis presents a social navigation solution for virtual game characters, capable of generating sensible human-like spatial behavior in social scenarios. In a social setting with several groups of virtual characters, our model generates group-joining, group-leaving and group-revisiting behaviors for an individual character. We consider interest as the main motivation behind character’s interactions with the groups. Thus, our social navigation model not only navigates the character toward interesting groups, but also continuously evaluates interestingness of groups and utilizes it to build group-leaving and group-revisiting mechanisms. In an engineering approach, we use the psychological knowledge on social spatial behavior to produce an internal representation of interest; then combine it with existing social navigation models to build our solution. We describe the two-stage implementation of our model, consisting of planning and realization of social spatial behavior. Finally we present simulation results of four testcase scenarios as proofs of concept for our model.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Steve DiPaola
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Interactive Arts and Technology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.Sc.

Temporal Coherency in Painterly Rendered Computer Animation Using a Cognitive-Based Approach

Author: 
Date created: 
2013-12-02
Abstract: 

This thesis proposes a solution to augment temporal coherency in painterly rendered computer animation sequences, using a computer engineering approach. Painterly is a cognitive knowledge-based parameterized Non Photo-realistic toolkit for creating artistically rendered still imagery. Therefore, it is incapable of maintaining temporal coherency of rendered animation frames. Consequently, movies rendered by Painterly demonstrate a significant amount of flickering. We proposed and developed CPA - a system to enhance temporal coherency in the sequences rendered by Painterly. CPA utilizes Painterly’s cognitive and perceptual knowledge space and induces coherency in the outputted results, by controlling and executing the main part of frame synthesis process. We created cognitive-based painterly rendered sequences which showed a good deal of improvement in maintaining temporal cohesiveness. Furthermore, by incorporating the element of ‘time’ in Painterly’s frame synthesis process, we expanded its scope from being a still-oriented and state-less toolkit to a more multipurpose and state-full system.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
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Senior supervisor: 
Steve DiPaola
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Interactive Arts and Technology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.Sc.