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.

Theorizing trans readership: Examining ways of reading trans themed young adult literature

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-01-11
Abstract: 

While there appears to be an expansion of gender and sexuality studies within the field of young adult literature criticism, the vast majority of scholarship privileges the study of gay and lesbian identities, as well as binary gender identities—either male or female. There is not much treatment of those who identify as other or in between. In the 1990s articles began to address topics of cross-dressing and responses to cross-gender behaviour—in response to changes in the field of psychology, namely the removal of homosexuality and the addition of Gender Identity Disorder (GID) in the Diagnostic and Statistics Manual of the American Psychological Association. Explicitly trans identified characters were not published by mainstream publishers until after 2004 in the wake of Julie Ann Peters’s Luna. Using a queer theory approach to children’s and young adult literature focuses more on sexuality and sexual attraction, but the addition of various trans studies approaches—research that looks to bodily transition and modification—along with reader-response theory (Rosenblatt), allows for a more complex exploration of transformation and the notion of gender as something fluid and transitional. By working to combine queer and trans theoretical approaches with literature and the transgender body and experience, I begin working in a more complex way with new and emerging issues in literature, such as intersexuality, asexuality, and two-spiritedness. This requires moving beyond rigid gender dichotomies and homonormative/transnormative identities which are presented even within queer, gay/lesbian, and feminist studies; an exclusion which could become an inclusion with the use of transgender studies in the field of children’s and young adult literature. This study will look to find commonalities or divergent purposes between what occurs in theoretical studies and what actually matters to trans and queer young adult readers. I engage in interviews with queer and trans identified teens, as well as librarians in order to gauge what teens readers want and how they read trans and queer characters within available YA fiction. In this way, children’s and young adult literature scholars will have the ability to better understand the purpose and usefulness of textual analysis and gatekeeping processes.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Helen Leung
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

From staples theory to new regionalism: managing drinking water for regional resilience in rural British Columbia

Date created: 
2016-12-09
Abstract: 

The Canadian infrastructure deficit presents challenges and opportunities, but also raises questions. Perhaps the most salient of these questions is not only how can we address these challenges, but how will what we do impact the future? Using a case study of drinking water systems in rural British Columbia, this research explores three unique aspects of the infrastructure deficit. First - the relationship between the infrastructure deficit and patterns of regional development is examined, paying particular attention to the legacy of staples dependent development. This research provides a historically and theoretically informed lens on the relationships between the two and how this influences the present day. The results present a more contextually-informed and regionally integrated framework and temper the presentism that often characterizes current discussions of the infrastructure deficit. Second - infrastructure management approaches are examined to see if there has been a shift in approach to ones more reflective of regional resilience. Current infrastructure conditions suggest renewal efforts must increase, making this investigation timely in order to better inform policy. While there is potential for drinking water systems to act as a catalyst to enhance regional resilience, this potential is largely untapped. Third - the potential for new regionalism as a platform for an alternate infrastructure management approach is studied. The proposed new regionalism based approach recognizes and accounts for the myriad of influencing factors and uses different mechanisms to support and encourage drinking water systems in fulfilling their potential role in supporting regional resilience. While the need for an alternate approach to managing drinking water systems is recognized and elements of the proposed approach are increasingly applied, substantive barriers remain. Collectively this research responds to a broader question of whether a new regionalist approach to infrastructure can positively impact future regional development and support rural regional resilience? Several important factors influence the ability of resilient regions to respond to change, of which drinking water systems are one. However, while it is possible that changes to the management of drinking water systems could have an influence on regional resilience, this is unlikely to occur in isolation or separate from larger, systemic change.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Sean Markey
Department: 
Environment: School of Resource and Environmental Management
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Odd disjoint trails and totally odd graph immersions

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-01-10
Abstract: 

The odd edge-connectivity between two vertices in a graph is the maximum number λ_o(u,v) of edge-disjoint (u, v)-trails of odd length. In this thesis, we define the perimeter of a vertex- set, a natural upper bound for the odd edge-connectivity between some of its constituent pairs. Our central result is an approximate characterization of odd edge-connectivity: λ_o(u, v) is bounded above and below by constant factors of the usual edge-connectivity λ_o(u, v) and/or the minimum perimeter among vertex-sets containing u and v. The relationship between odd edge-connectivity and perimeter has many implications, most notably a loose packing–covering duality for odd trails. (In contrast, odd paths do not obey any such duality.) For Eulerian graphs, we obtain a second, independent proof of the packing–covering duality with a significantly better constant factor. Both proofs can be implemented as polynomial-time approximation algorithms for λ_o(u,v). After observing that perimeter satisfies a submodular inequality, we are able to prove an analogue of the Gomory–Hu Theorem for sets of minimum perimeter and, consequently, to construct an efficient data structure for storing approximate odd edge-connectivities for all vertex pairs in a graph. The last part of the thesis studies more complicated systems of odd trails. A totally odd immersion of a graph H in another graph G is a representation in which vertices in H correspond to vertices in G and edges in H correspond to edge-disjoint odd trails in G. Using our perimeter version of the Gomory–Hu Theorem, we describe the rough structure of graphs with no totally odd immersion of the complete graph K_t. Finally, we suggest a totally odd immersion variant of Hadwiger’s Conjecture and show that it is true for almost all graphs.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Bojan Mohar
Department: 
Science: Department of Mathematics
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Multimodal Interfaces for Human-Robot Interaction

Date created: 
2016-12-23
Abstract: 

Robots are becoming more popular in domestic human environments, from service applica- tions to entertainment and education, where they share the workspace and interact directly with the general public in their everyday life. One long-term goal of human-robot inter- action (HRI) research is to have robots work with and around people, taking instructions via simple, intuitive interfaces. For a successful, natural interaction robots are expected to be observant of the human present, recognize what they are doing and act appropriately to their attention-drawing behaviors such as gaze, body posture or gestures. We call such a system by which a robot can take notice of someone or something and consider it as interesting or relevant attention system. These systems enable robots to shift their focus of attention to a particular part of the information that is relevant and meaningful in a given situation based on the motivational and behavioral state of the robot. This awareness comes from interpreting the exchanged information between humans and robots. The exchange of information through a combination of different modalities is anticipated to be of most ben- efit. Multimodal interfaces can be used to take advantage of the existing strengths of each composite modality and overcome individual weaknesses. Also, it has been argued [1] that multimodal interfaces facilitate a more natural communication as by employing integrated systems users will be less concerned about how to communicate the intended commands or which modality to use, and therefore be free to focus on the task and goals at hand. This PhD thesis presents our contributions made in designing and implementing multimodal, sensor-mediated attention systems that enable users to interact directly with physically col- located robots using natural and intuitive communication methods. We focus on scenarios when there are multiple people or multiple robots in the environment. First, we introduce two multimodal human multi-robot interaction systems for selecting and commanding an individual or a group of robots from a population. In this context, we study how spatial configuration of user and robots may affect the efficiency of these interfaces in real-world settings. Next, we present a probabilistic approach for identifying attention-drawing signals from an interested party and controlling a mobile robot’s attention toward the most promis- ing interaction partner among a group of people. Finally, we report on a user study designed to assess the performance and usability of this proposed system for finding HRI partners in a crowd when used by the non-robotics experts and compare it to manual control.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Demonstration of a robust integrated system for selecting and commanding multiple mobile robots
Demonstration of commanding groups of robots using face engagement and indirect speech in voice commands
Demonstration of an integrated system for finding an HRI partner in a crowd
Observations of WOZ experiments for studying what untrained users do when asked “make the robot come to you”
Senior supervisor: 
Richard Vaughan
Greg Mori
Department: 
Applied Sciences: School of Computing Science
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Model development and exploration into the driving decisions of older adults

Date created: 
2017-02-23
Abstract: 

With advanced age, declines in physical and/or cognitive abilities make driving more difficult, and challenge the individual to make decisions about their driving. The main aim of this research was to explore how older adults make day-to-day decisions about driving, and how others’ opinions influence them. This thesis addresses major gaps in the published literature on older driver decision processes, and how these processes differ across gender and habit strength for driving. An integrative mixed methods approach was used to study a convenience sample of 37 urban dwelling drivers, age 70 years and older. This exploratory research reveals that decisions about driving are dependent upon at least three main features: 1) interpretation of the driving environment; 2) types of information used and decision processes employed; and 3) influence other’s opinions on driving decisions.Main findings are that older drivers evaluate their driving experience using three distinct components: 1) the driving environment; 2) people who drive; and 3) crashes. In the decision-making process, older drivers are characterized by their dynamic use of information wherein an item may be used to support the decision to drive some instances, but in other instances used in choices not to drive. Three categories of items are identified in a proposed Older Driver Decision Components Framework, and reflect this dynamic process: Motivators, Constraints/Motivators, and Context. Additionally, three groups of older drivers are identified based on their driving choices, and defined by characteristics such as gender, age, and habit for driving. Responses to comments about their driving also help define these groups. Results of the study provide a new direction for research on the older driver, and models are developed that may be used to form a basis for understanding older driver decision-making. Refinement of our knowledge about how elders assess their driving environment, and the subsequent choices they make, should be pursued to better understand how they adjust their transportation needs and desires to age-related changes. In turn, this knowledge may be used to design programs and policies to support the safe driving of our aging population.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Andrew Wister
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Gerontology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Downie Slide: An integrated remote sensing approach to characterization of a very slow moving landslide

Date created: 
2017-04-04
Abstract: 

This study demonstrates the advantages of combining remote sensing with field data in landslide investigations and provides improved data on the structural geology and its influence on slope movements at Downie Slide, a large landslide located in southeastern British Columbia, Canada. The geomorphology of the Downie Slide was studied using airborne LiDAR in a GIS environment to provide new insights on the landslide displacement mechanism. Surface and underground areas of the slide were compared and contrasted using terrestrial laser scanning and photogrammetry. Six joint sets were identified. Some structures and domain boundaries were found to be pervasive throughout the slide. A correlation between slope deformation, and large-scale structural and damage features was made and 12 structural domains defined within the landslide. Large secondary retrogressive-failures were identified for the head scarp and retrogression of the northern boundary, increasing the overall area of slide material by ~ 1 km2.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Doug Stead
Department: 
Science: Department of Earth Sciences
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.Sc.

Bayesian methods for multi-modal posterior topologies

Date created: 
2017-04-18
Abstract: 

The purpose of this thesis is to develop efficient Bayesian methods to address multi-modality in posterior topologies. In Chapter 2 we develop a new general Bayesian methodology that simultaneously estimates parameters of interest and probability of the model. The proposed methodology builds on the Simulated Tempering algorithm, which is a powerful sampling algorithm that handles multi-modal distributions, but it is difficult to use in practice due to the requirement to choose suitable prior for the temperature and temperature schedule. Our proposed algorithm removes this requirement, while preserving the sampling efficiency of the Simulated Tempering algorithm. We illustrate the applicability of the new algorithm to different examples involving mixture models of Gaussian distributions and ordinary differential equation models. Chapter 3 proposes a general optimization strategy, which combines results from different optimization or parameter estimation methods to overcome shortcomings of a single method. Embedding the proposed optimization strategy in the Incremental Mixture Importance Sampling with Optimization algorithm (IMIS-Opt) significantly improves sampling efficiency and removes the dependence on the choice of the prior of the IMIS-Opt. We demonstrate that the resulting algorithm provides accurate parameter estimates, while the IMIS-Opt gets trapped in a local mode in the case of the ordinary differential equation (ODE) models. Finally, the resulting algorithm is implemented within the Approximate Bayesian Computation framework to draw likelihood-free inference. Chapter 4 introduces a generalization of the Bayesian Information Criterion (BIC) that handles multi-modality in the posterior space. The BIC is a computationally efficient model selection tool, but it relies on the assumption that the posterior distribution is unimodal. When the posterior is multi-modal the BIC uses only one posterior mode, while discarding the information from the rest of the modes. We demonstrate that the BIC produces inaccurate estimates of the posterior probability of the bimodal model, which in some cases results in the BIC selecting the sub-optimal model. As a remedy, we propose a Multi-modal BIC (MBIC) that incorporates all relevant posterior modes, while preserving the computational efficiency of the BIC. The accuracy of the MBIC is demonstrated through bimodal models and mixture models of Gaussian distributions.

Document type: 
Thesis
Senior supervisor: 
Dr. David Campbell
Department: 
Science: Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

vorbei

Date created: 
2017-04-13
Abstract: 

vorbei is a program designed to generate a unique and complete piece of music every time it is run, and to do so with no external interaction. Each piece created by vorbei begins with the generation of a series of millisecond values known as a gesture, which provides the seed for all subsequent data and sound. Throughout a given run of the program, in order to reinforce emerging trends and encourage movement towards coherent structures, generated data is stored and analyzed to create probabilities that determine its later use. As such, individual runs of vorbei can be understood as a series of variations generated from increasingly extended derivations of the initial gesture.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Arne Eigenfeldt
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School for the Contemporary Arts
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.F.A.

Enhancing Municipal Support for Child Care: Policy Options for the City of Surrey

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-03-20
Abstract: 

This study explores the role municipalities in British Columbia can play in addressing child care. It focuses on the City of Surrey, investigating what this rapidly growing municipality can do, within its jurisdictional authority, to enable and support the creation of high quality, affordable child care spaces. This study uses a literature review, jurisdictional scan and data gathered through qualitative interviews with municipal elected officials, planners and child care experts to identify and evaluate five policy options. Options are analysed using a standardized criteria and measures approach. This study concludes that the adoption of a non-profit support framework and the integration of child care into the City’s community amenity contributions approach are the most effective policy interventions for increasing the number of child care spaces, while ensuring high quality, affordability and accessibility objectives. Furthermore, it recognizes these interventions can be included within a more comprehensive strategy, maximizing flexibility and nimbleness.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Kora DeBeck
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: School of Public Policy
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.P.P.

Clinical optical coherence tomography angiography registration and analysis

Date created: 
2017-04-20
Abstract: 

Optical Coherence Tomography Angiography (OCT-A) is an emerging imaging modality with which the retinal circulation can be visualized by computing the decorrelation signal on a pixel-by-pixel basis. This non-invasive, in vivo visualization of the retinal microvasculature can be instrumental in studying the onset and development of retinal vascular diseases. Quantitative measurements, such as capillary density, can be used to stratify the risk of disease progression, visual loss, and also for monitoring the course of disease. Due to projection artifact and poor contrast, it is often difficult to trace individual vessels when only one en face image is visualized. Averaging of up to 10 serially acquired OCT-A images with parallel strip-wise microsaccadic noise removal and localized nonrigid registration is presented. Additionally, the use of a deep learning method for the quantification of Foveal Avascular Zone (FAZ) parameters and perifoveal capillary density of prototype and commercial OCT-A platforms in both healthy and diabetic eyes is evaluated.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Marinko Sarunic
Department: 
Applied Sciences: School of Engineering Science
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.Sc.