Theses, Dissertations, and other Required Graduate Degree Essays

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This collection contains digitized SFU theses except for those theses submitted within the last 12 months. If you cannot find the thesis you are looking for please search Recently Submitted Theses as it may be a recently submitted thesis and thus not yet available in Summit.

Straight lines? Re-reading the discourse of straight-acting for subversive effect

Date created: 
2017-08-08
Abstract: 

Engaging with a rich history of gay masculinities, this research analyzes the contemporary discourse of straight-acting as a site of masculine identification for gay men within the context of queer liberalism. Mapping the discourse from a poststructuralist, queer perspective, straight-acting is on one hand theorized as a continuation of a discourse that promotes a valorization of normative configurations of masculinity, with an eye to its potential as a performative subversion of the ‘naturalness’ of heteromasculinity. Through an autoethnographic analysis of the geosocial gay hook-up app Grindr, the research argues that the contemporary discourse of straight-acting is a reflection/function of particular neoliberal norms of self-discipline vis-à-vis the digital app space. Conversely, the potentials for straight-acting to problematize the coherence of a sexual binaristic logic points toward the destabilizing quality of straight-acting when speculated upon beyond queer liberalist functions, turning to face the possibility of resignification for subversive effect.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Jennifer Marchbank
Peter Dickinson
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Robotic User Interface for Telecommunication

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-08-08
Abstract: 

This thesis presents a series of efforts formulating a new paradigm of social robotics and developing prototype robot systems for exploring robotic user interfaces (RUIs) designs in the context of robot mediated telecommunication. Along with four academic articles previously produced by the author, this thesis seeks to answer how one could create a technological framework for designing physically embodied interpersonal communication systems. To provide an understanding of interpersonal robot mediator systems, the thesis introduces a concept of Bidirectional Telepresence Robots and presents the technical requirements of designing such robotic platforms. The technical architecture is described along with the development of anthropomorphic social mediators, CALLY and CALLO, that implemented robot gesture messaging protocols and robot animation techniques. The developed robot systems suggest a set of design insights that can guide future telepresence robot developments and the RUI designs. As for technological achievements from the study, the details of the robot design, construction, applications, user interfaces, as well as the software structure for the robot control and information processing are described. A thorough literature review on social robotics and multi-modal user interfaces are provided. This work is one of the earliest takes that not only opens up academic discussions on bidirectional telepresence robots and mobile phone based robot platforms but also inspires the industry new markets for robotic products with artificial personalities.

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

Lines that Matter: Reading the Charter at the Canada-U.S. Border

Date created: 
2017-08-08
Abstract: 

Border studies and critical geographies of the border have been influential at calling attention to the structures of power and limits to rights at border sites. In North America, significant research has been conducted investigating the US Department of Homeland Security and its role in the securitization of migration within the United States. In Canada, border studies has enjoyed a long history within academic discourse, but the border too often becomes simply a stand in for the US-Canada relationship. This thesis emerges from a desire to look at the border from the North, and to consider the processes and institutions undergirding border work in Canada. Specifically, I take as my focus Canadian courtrooms where judges and lawyers frame arguments and write decisions that place individuals in or out of a particular legal framing. I look to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms as an important re-centering of the role of the judiciary. I ask: How do judges and lawyers make sense of the border as a legal space? And, what role does the Charter serve in that legal space-making? To answer these questions, I consider how judges and lawyers make brackets to organize and make sense of information that then defines a field of possible action. I look to three cases at the border that have been heard by the Supreme Court of Canada since the adoption of the Charter in 1982. Each of these cases represent a constitutional question based in the Charter. I use these three cases to offer a thorough accounting of border work considering customs work at the port of entry, and deportations that occur well within Canada. I argue that far away from public scrutiny, laws are dusted off, legal acrobatics are performed in courtrooms, and judges are making decisions that quietly change how borders function and how we understand borders as a legal space. My study of these courtrooms reveals that judges and lawyers are implicated in the work of making and effectuating borders.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Nicholas Blomley
Department: 
Environment: Department of Geography
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Truth and Deception in Informants' Accounts of Criminal Admissions

Date created: 
2017-07-13
Abstract: 

Informants who report admissions to crime can be powerful and dangerous players in the criminal justice system. Some informants, such as jailhouse informants, are considered deceitful, in part because they can receive incentives to report criminal admissions. However, little research has examined the nature of information that informants provide. In particular, no recent published research has examined whether there are valid behavioural cues that distinguish deceptive from truthful informants. In addition, no published study to date has explored whether informants’ reports and demeanours are affected by the incentives that they receive. Participants in this study either did or did not hear a criminal admission and then were interviewed one week later about details of the admission they had allegedly heard. Some participants were offered an incentive to report the criminal admission in a way that appeared accurate and forthcoming. The results of this study suggest that there may be behavioural cues emitted during the reporting of criminal admissions that distinguish truthful from deceptive informants. However, the direction of differences for some cues may deviate from other types of witnesses to crime. In addition, the findings of this study indicate that being offered an incentive may induce informants to emit cues during the reporting of criminal admissions that make them appear more truthful, regardless of whether or not they are actually telling the truth. The findings of this study raise concerns about whether informants’ honesty should be assessed in the same way as other witnesses, and about potentially negative consequences of offering incentives to informants in exchange for their reports of criminal admissions.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
J. Don Read
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Psychology
Thesis type: 
(Dissertation) Ph.D.

Structured Professional Assessment and Management of Self-Directed Violence (SDV): The SDV-20

Date created: 
2017-07-20
Abstract: 

Suicidal behaviour has been documented in almost every country and was the second leading cause of death in 2012 among persons aged 15 to 29 (World Health Organization, 2014). Each year, up to one million people die by suicide worldwide. Suicide is a global challenge for medical and mental health organizations, and presents a significant systemic burden if not managed effectively (Knox & Caine, 2005). Currently, there appears to be an over-reliance on the use of “checklist” methods for assessing suicide risk (e.g., SAD PERSONS; Patterson, Dohn, Bird, & Patterson, 1983), and a great need for empirically guided risk assessment approaches that utilize the advantages of clinical or professional judgment, rather than relying solely on the outcome of quantitative or checklist measures (Range, 2005). Strict quantitative or statistical approaches often do not adequately capture the range of dispositional and contextual factors influencing risk for particular behaviours (Hart, 2008; Hart & Cooke, 2013). Thus, the purpose of the current project will be to conduct a systematic and selected review of the literature and develop a set of structured professional judgment guidelines for assessing suicide risk.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Alexander L. Chapman
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Psychology
Thesis type: 
(Dissertation) Ph.D.

Consolidated composite adsorbent containing graphite flake for sorption cooling systems

Date created: 
2017-07-06
Abstract: 

Heat-driven sorption technology, as a sustainable and clean solution for thermal management and heat storage, has drawn a significant interest in academic and industrial research community. This interest has been intensified in the last decade as environmental and climate changes issues are becoming major global challenges. Numerous studies aim to improve materials sorption performances, as it is at the core of sorption cooling or storage systems. Due to the nature of the sorption process, heat and transport properties, e.g., thermal diffusivity and thermal conductivity of the adsorbent material play an important role in their performance. Higher thermal diffusivity can enhance the heat transfer rate and lead to faster sorption/desorption cycles and more efficient (more compact) heat-driven sorption chillers. A key part of the sorption chillers design is developing adsorbent materials (or composites) with superior hydrophilicity, high water uptake capacity, low regeneration temperature (60-150°C), and high thermal diffusivity. The focus of this research is to design tailored consolidated composite adsorbent containing graphite flakes with improved heat and mass transfer properties for sorption cooling systems. The presented Ph.D. dissertation is divided into three main parts: (i) composite adsorbent fabrication and characterization; (ii) consolidated composite characterization; and (iii) thermal properties modeling of consolidated composite adsorbent. Fabricated loose grain and consolidated composite were characterized in Dr. Bahrami’s Laboratory for Alternative Energy Conversion (LAEC) and SFU 4D LABS.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Majid Bahrami
Department: 
Applied Sciences: School of Mechatronic Systems Engineering
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Adjusting for Scorekeeper Bias in NBA Box Scores

Date created: 
2017-06-01
Abstract: 

Box score statistics in the National Basketball Association are used to measure and evaluate player performance. Some of these statistics are subjective in nature and since box score statistics are recorded by scorekeepers hired by the home team for each game, there exists potential for inconsistency and bias. These inconsistencies can have far reaching consequences, particularly with the rise in popularity of daily fantasy sports. Using box score data, we estimate models able to quantify both the bias and the generosity of each scorekeeper for two of the most subjective statistics: assists and blocks. We then use optical player tracking data for the 2015-2016 season to improve the assist model by including other contextual spatio-temporal variables such as time of possession, player locations, and distance traveled. From this model, we present results measuring the impact of the scorekeeper and of the other contextual variables on the probability of a pass being recorded as an assist. Results for adjusting season assist totals to remove scorekeeper influence are also presented.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Luke Bornn
Department: 
Science: Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.Sc.

Machine Learning Driven Active Surfaces for 3D Segmentation of Tumour Lesions in PET Images

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-05-09
Abstract: 

One of the key challenges facing wider adoption of positron emission tomography (PET) as an imaging biomarker of disease is the development of reproducible quantitative image interpretation tools. Quantifying changes in tumor tissue, due to disease progression or treatment regimen, often requires accurate and reproducible delineation of lesions. Lesion segmentation is necessary for measuring tumor proliferation/shrinkage and radiotracer-uptake to quantify tumor metabolism.In this thesis, we develop an active surface model for segmenting lesions from PET images. We first implemented a non-convex level set active surface method with likelihood terms trained on manually-collected seeds points. We evaluated this approach on the following datasets: Images of phantoms collected by our collaborators at UBC; Quantitative Imaging Network (QIN) phantom images; and images of real patients from the QIN Head and Neck challenge. Secondly, to avoid user interaction, we developed an improved version of our method by training a machine learning system on anatomically and physiologically meaningful imaging cues to distinguish normal organ activity from tumorous lesion activity. Then, the inferred lesion likelihoods are used to guide a convex active surface segmentation model. The result is a lesion segmentation method that does not require user-initialization, manual seeding, or parameter-tweaking and, thus, guaranteeing reproducible results. We tested this enhanced method on data from the Cancer Imaging Archive. Our method not only produces more accurate segmentation than state-of-the-art segmentation results, but also does not need any user interaction.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Ghassan Hamarneh
Department: 
Applied Sciences: School of Computing Science
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.Sc.

Finding Muhammad Qutb: Praising ghosts online, a different Qutbian legacy and Islamic revivalism in the Gulf

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-08-30
Abstract: 

Muhammad Qutb (1919-2014) was an Egyptian ideologue credited with establishing the theoretical basis for the Sahwa movement (Islamic Awakening) in Saudi Arabia during his self-imposed exile to the Kingdom (from 1971-2014). Although Muhammad Qutb held a number academic positions in Saudi Arabia, he was also prolific writer, orator, long-standing educator and personal theology teacher to Osama bin Laden. The existing historiographic body focused on Qutbian thought has ignored Muhammad Qutb, in favor of his older brother, Sayyid Qutb (1909–1966). This thesis positions Muhammad Qutb not as a keeper of his brother’s intellectual flame, nor as a subordinate, but as a scholar in his own right – with an extensive body of work that remains overlooked. This thesis rescues Muhammad Qutb from the end notes of history by means of interrogating his work within the context in which it was created and offering recognition to Muhammad Qutb as a contributor to the school of thought which bears his name – the Qutbian Ideology.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Paul Sedra
Thomas Kuehn, Adel Iskandar
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of History
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

La dialectique de l’ordre et du désordre dans le théâtre de Bernard-Marie Koltès

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-08-28
Abstract: 

Ce mémoire de maitrise vise à analyser les trois pièces suivantes de Bernard-Marie Koltès : Quai ouest (1985), Le retour au désert (1988) et Roberto Zucco (1990) en prenant pour point de départ les thèses développées par Jacques Rancière dans Le spectateur émancipé (2004) et par Roland Barthes dans Leçon (1978). Il propose de montrer comment les notions de l’ordre et du désordre prennent place dans ces trois œuvres théâtrales et jouent esthétiquement et littérairement un rôle considérable. L’ordre dont on parle dans cette étude est un système social qui se trouve dans l’intrigue des pièces. Il est mis en relief à travers la structure et les figures de style utilisées. La question à laquelle on tente de répondre dans ce travail est la suivante : comment Koltès, à travers son style d’écriture, met-il la dialectique de l’ordre et du désordre en place dans ses textes théâtraux et amène-t-il ainsi le spectateur à chercher les moyens de s’émanciper de l’ordre social présenté dans la pièce? Ce mémoire tente également de révéler les mécanismes dans le théâtre de Koltès qui ouvrent la possibilité d’émancipation intellectuelle pour le spectateur: les contrastes, le silence, le non-dit, les jeux des mots, les métaphores, etc.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Jorge Calderon
Joy Palacios
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of French
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.