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.

Painting Identity and Resistance: Muralism in Puerto Rico

Date created: 
2017-08-28
Abstract: 

The mural Grabadores por Grabadores (Printmakers for Printmakers) existed as a popular wall in the city of San Juan. The group Artistas Solidarixs y en Resistencia transformed it into La Puerta (The Door) to oppose the imposition of Bill H.R 5278, better known as PROMESA. This study analyzes the reception to both murals and discusses whether Grabadores por Grabadores existed as a site of identity, while La Puerta exists as a site of resistance. Employing Armando Silva’s concept of exhibición, encuadre y mirada ciudadana this work unveils how the artists exposed their imaginario urbano. It also examines the perceived impact of the transformation on Puerto Rican citizenship, focusing on whether the murals existed as sites of identity, resistance, neither, or both.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Adel Iskandar
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Communication
Thesis type: 
(Extended Essay) M.A.

Glacial History and Landform Genesis in the Lac de Gras Area, Northwest Territories

Date created: 
2017-01-27
Abstract: 

The Quaternary geology of the Lac de Gras area was studied by 1:20 000 surficial geology mapping of 770 km2 and investigating the genesis of enigmatic landforms. Three distinct flow directions of the Laurentide Ice Sheet are recorded: flow to the southwest, then west, and finally to the west northwest. Digital mapping with high-resolution orthoimagery and a 30 cm lidar DEM provides insight into the deglacial history. ‘Subglacial meltwater corridors’ are prominent in the area. These are tracts that roughly parallel the final ice-flow direction, where basal till has been eroded, bedrock is exposed, and glaciofluvial sediments have been deposited; enigmatic, glaciofluvial mounds composed of sandy diamicton are common. These mounds have highly variable morphologies and occur in groups. They are typically 50 m wide and rise up to 15 m above the surrounding topography. Subglacial meltwater corridors and enigmatic mounds likely formed when supraglacial lakes drained catastrophically during deglaciation.

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

Developing a trophic bioaccumulation model for PFOA and PFOS in a marine food web

Date created: 
2016-07-19
Abstract: 

Food web (or trophic) bioaccumulation models are useful tools for estimating the bioaccumulative tendencies of persistent organic pollutants, and are regularly used for regulatory assessment of industrial chemicals. Current models are mostly designed for neutral, lipophilic compounds, yet numerous compounds of concern are ionizable and/or proteinophilic, exhibiting unique bioaccumulation behaviour. In this study, an existing model was modified to evaluate bioaccumulation of two ionizable perfluoroalkyl acids (PFAAs) in a marine food web: perfluorooctanoate (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS). The model was tested against measured concentrations of PFOA and PFOS from a bottlenose dolphin food web in Charleston Harbor, SC. Both compounds were expected to bioaccumulate in this food web. Predicted concentrations of PFOS were in better agreement with empirical measurements compared to PFOA. This study supports the utilization of holistic measures of bioaccumulation (i.e., the trophic magnification factor, or TMF), particularly in food webs containing water- and air-respiring organisms.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Frank Gobas
Department: 
Environment: School of Resource and Environmental Management
Thesis type: 
(Research Project) M.R.M.

Energy Management Strategies and Evaluation for Plug-in Electric Vehicles - On and Off the Road

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

Electric vehicle (EV) industries are driven by new technologies in batteries and powertrains. This thesis studies the cutting-edge Formula E racing vehicles with vehicle simulation and optimization for energy efficiency. On the consumer side, a new challenge EVs introduce is the need for large-scale charging infrastructure with minimum grid impact. This thesis studies EV charging management on the daily basis, featuring practical smart charging solutions at public locations and bi-directional (dis)charging at workplace and residence. Techniques that support smart charging are also studied. A data-mining based load disaggregation approach is developed to evaluate the general energy usage in the residential context. A machine-learning based load forecasting model is proposed to predict short-term residential loads in ultra-small scales. Overall, this thesis anticipates every aspect of EVs' daily activities, whether it is on or off the road, and suggests solutions to maximizing EV utilization for both drivers and the smart grid.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Gary Wang
Hassan Farhangi, Ali Palizban
Department: 
Applied Sciences: School of Mechatronic Systems Engineering
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.Sc.

Joint Constrained Clustering and Feature Learning based on Deep Neural Networks

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-08-23
Abstract: 

We propose a novel method to iteratively improve the performance of constrained clustering and feature learning based on Convolutional Neural Networks (CNNs). There is no effective strategy for neither the constraint selection nor the distance metric learning in traditional constrained clustering methods. In our work, we design an effective constraint selection strategy and combine a CNN-based feature learning approach with the constrained clustering algorithm. The proposed model consists of two iterative steps: First, we replace the random constraint selection strategy with a carefully designed one; based on the clustering result and constraints obtained, we fine tune the CNN and extract new features for distance re-calculation. Our model is evaluated on a realistic video dataset, and the experimental results demonstrate that our method can improve the constrained clustering performance and feature divisibility simultaneously even with fewer constraints.

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

Proxied perspectives: immigrant and low-income women presented to the royal commission on the status of women, 1968

Date created: 
2017-08-29
Abstract: 

Called in 1967 in response to social unrest, the Royal Commission on the Status of Women accepted letters, briefs, and presentations in support of social and economic parity for women in Canada. This thesis engages briefs submitted to the Commission on behalf of immigrant and impoverished women living in Vancouver's downtown neighbourhoods, penned by agents not part of the community being represented. This study analyzes how marginalized women's experiences were framed by "proxied" representatives to the Commission; by the Commission; and by spectators such as the mainstream newspaper media. Though the Commission was structured to accept proxied accounts as directly representative, this study concludes that additional interrogation of the ambiguity or contradictions in these "proxied" accounts was required for the Commission to more concretely represent what Vancouver's marginalized women required for a chance at social equality.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Willeen Keough
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of History
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Exploring the design dynamics of community-based social innovation projects by applying the theory of infrastructuring

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-08-09
Abstract: 

Social innovations are products, services and models that meet social needs and generate new social connections or collaborations. Interaction design research aimed at supporting social innovation projects has only recently begun to gain momentum. To better support social innovations and further promote social change, interaction designers need to better understand the emerging possibilities, limitations and implications in those projects. In this dissertation, to further explore how interaction designers can play a role in promoting social innovation, I utilize the theory of infrastructuring in relation to the theoretical framework publics (Le Dantec, 2016) for interpreting the underlying design process in social innovation projects in community contexts. I believe the application of the infrastructuring concept allows design to have a role in describing in detail the design process of those projects. Infrastructuring helps to reveal the inner workings of such projects. Moreover, personally being involved in several social innovation projects, such as being a community gardener, I was amazed by and interested in understanding more about the creativity of people in the design process of these projects. Hence, the goal of this research is to provide a comprehensive description and interpretation of the collective design of community-based social innovation projects. This dissertation reports on a multiple-case study that describes the design process of three community-based social innovation projects in the city of Vancouver - Inner City Farms, Vancouver Tool Library, and Woodland Community Garden. Based on the description, design implications are proposed to discuss the potentialities of interaction design in supporting the design process of such projects. On the one hand, this research highlights the aspects of the design process in which interaction designers can play a significant role and further support social innovation. On the other hand, applying the notion of infrastructuring to the collective design of community-based social innovation projects provides an opportunity to extend the understanding of design toward a more dynamic and open-ended process where conflicts, standards, and adaptions are interwoven within an infrastructuring process.

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

The realisability of γ-graphs

Date created: 
2017-08-14
Abstract: 

The γ-graph γ·G of a graph G is the graph whose vertices are labelled by the minimum dominating sets of G, in which two vertices are adjacent when their corresponding minimum dominating sets differ in exactly one element. We give an explicit construction of a graph having an arbitrary prescribed set of minimum dominating sets. We show as a corollary that "labellable implies realisable for γ-graphs": if the vertices of a graph H can be labelled by distinct sets of the same size, in a manner consistent with the adjacency condition for γ-graphs, then H = γ·G for some graph G. We use this corollary to extend the classification of γ-graphs, due to Lakshmanan and Vijayakumar, to all graphs on at most six vertices. We also use this corollary to relate γ-graphs both to induced subgraphs of Johnson graphs and to optimal dominating codes in graphs.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Jonathan Jedwab
Department: 
Science: Department of Mathematics
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.Sc.

The unmaking of the Skeena River salmon fisheries as a social-ecological system

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-06-23
Abstract: 

Commercial salmon fisheries on the Skeena River in northern British Columbia have been a way of life, a vital part of the economy, and a valued support to community health and wellbeing in the region for over a century. In the last two decades a drastic curtailment of fishing opportunity has reduced commercial landings and fishing effort to less than 20% of where they stood in the mid-1990s and earlier. Ostensibly undertaken in the interests of conservation, the reduction in commercial access to salmon stocks is a much more complex story. This dissertation poses the question: what, if anything, would make commercial salmon fisheries on the Skeena “sustainable”? Starting from the premise that sustainability in fisheries is about more than the resource that is being harvested, I present a fishery-focused social-ecological system model that includes markets, communities, ecosystems and governance institutions. I situate the Skeena salmon fisheries in this model as a first step. I then turn to the management system to see how it addresses the issue of sustainability. Using a framework that was developed through the Canadian Fisheries Research Network (CFRN), I evaluate management on the Skeena over the past 30-40 years in three dimensions: ecological, socio-economic, and governance. Having shown that sustainability on the Skeena continues to be narrowly defined in terms of the productivity of salmon populations, I introduce a second model to represent how natural resources are meant to be exploited under conditions characteristic of “modernity”. I call this a “utilitarian control system” model: it shows how fisheries managers on the Skeena have been compelled to severely restrict the type and quantity of value extracted from the fishery in order to maintain an illusion of control over the resource production system. I conclude by presenting an alternative approach to sustainability that I term natural governance. Consisting of three primary systems – natural, governance and social – with three corresponding functions – diversity, legitimacy, and wellbeing – I apply the framework to the Skeena fisheries as a way of generating recommendations for how to begin the transition to a healthier relationship between human and natural systems.

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

Towards stable polymer solar cells through crosslinking and sidechain cleavage

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-08-22
Abstract: 

This thesis focuses on the investigation of two strategies for stabilizing the photovoltaic performance of polymer solar cells. Polymer solar cells (PSC) fabricated using solution processable conjugated polymers offer the potential for high-speed production of solar cell modules at low cost. However, achieving high power conversion efficiency (PCE) and long lifetime remains a challenge for PSCs. Photoexcitation of a conjugated polymer generates tightly bound electron-hole pairs (i.e., excitons) that require an electron acceptor (e.g., fullerene) for the dissociation of excitons into free charges. An interpenetrating network of conjugated polymer and fullerene (i.e., bulk heterojunction) is ideal for efficient charge generation due to the existence of a high interfacial area. However, such a morphology is not thermodynamically stable and is subject to large phase segregation in the form of fullerene aggregation provoked by the build-up of excessive heat during the operation of PSCs. Consequently, the PCE of PSCs degrades over time. In this thesis, two strategies for morphological stabilization are investigated using derivatives of poly(benzo[1,2-b:4,5-b′]dithiophene-thieno[3,4-b]thiophene) (PTB). In one strategy, a derivative of PTB having thermally-cleavable tetrahydropyran (THP) sidechains (PTB(THP)) is synthesized. Removal of the THP sidechains by thermal annealing reduces the mobility of PTB, thus retarding the diffusion of fullerene through the polymer matrix to form large aggregates. Photovoltaic (PV) devices made from PTB(THP) after thermal-cleavage of the sidechains exhibited stable PCE over prolonged thermal annealing, which is attributed to the thermally-stable morphology observed by microscopic studies. In the second strategy, a series of PTB derivatives bearing photocrosslinkable chlorooctyl sidechains (PTB-Cl) are synthesized. Photocrosslinking initiated by deep UV is able to insolubilize thin films of PTB-Cls. PV devices having stable PCE over prolonged thermal annealing were demonstrated using photocrosslinked PTB-Cls. However, high-number of photocrosslinkable sidechains and prolonged UV irradiation pose negative effects on the PCE and stability of PV devices made from PTB-Cls. In addition, accurate PCE measurement is of importance for the research of PSC. In Chapter 4, measurement errors of PCE using a simple xenon arc lamp are discussed. Improvements of measurement accuracy are demonstrated following simple modifications of the instruments and the measurement procedure.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Steven Holdcroft
Department: 
Science: Department of Chemistry
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.