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.

The isolated post: A qualitative analysis of the challenges of Northern policing

Date created: 
2018-04-20
Abstract: 

This study provides an understanding of the opinions and experiences of officers who are posted in Northern and remote rural communities across Canada. This area has often been neglected by research. Key findings include a discussion of challenges associated to living in remote areas, the duration of postings, the relationship with the community, the relocation of family, the multifaceted role, crime and social disorder, the lack of anonymity, and detachment sizes. This study provides strong support that remote postings present many unique challenges unknown to their urban counterparts.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Bryan Kinney
Martin Andresen
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: School of Criminology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Structured label inference for visual understanding

Author: 
Date created: 
2018-04-18
Abstract: 

Visual data such as images and videos contain a rich source of structured semantic labels as well as a wide range of interacting components. Visual content could be assigned with fine-grained labels describing major components, coarse-grained labels depicting high level abstractions, or a set of labels revealing attributes. Such categorization over different, interacting layers of labels evinces the potential for a graph-based encoding of label information. In this thesis, we exploit this rich structure for performing graph-based inference in label space for a number of tasks: multi-label image and video classification and action detection in untrimmed videos. We consider the use of the Bidirectional Inference Neural Network (BINN) and Structured Inference Neural Network (SINN) for performing graph-based inference in label space and propose a Long Short-Term Memory (LSTM) based extension for exploiting activity progression on untrimmed videos. The methods were evaluated on (i) the Animal with Attributes (AwA), Scene Understanding (SUN) and NUS-WIDE datasets for multi-label image classification, (ii) the first two releases of the YouTube-8M large scale dataset for multi-label video classification, and (iii) the THUMOS’14 and MultiTHUMOS video datasets for action detection. Our results demonstrate the effectiveness of structured label inference in these challenging tasks, achieving significant improvements against baselines.

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

A profile of medical cannabis users residing in Canada and the United Kingdom: Accounting for policy and experience

Date created: 
2018-03-21
Abstract: 

Cannabis remains among the most widely used, researched, and discussed drugs in the world. The science buttressing its use as a treatment for a variety of symptoms and medical conditions has evolved considerably since the 1960s; yet, the most common uses reported by patients are not recognized by the medical community. Despite this lack of accord, several countries have liberalized domestic policy in recent years to give eligible patients access to regulated suppliers and protection from legal repercussion. Alternatively, patients residing in countries without a medical exception continue to risk facing social stigmatization and other legal barriers created by prohibition. This study considers whether the profile of self-described medical users from two countries with very different policies is shaped by external forces, such as domestic policy, or unique features of the “cannabis career.” Data obtained from an online survey of self-described medical users residing primarily in Canada and the United Kingdom (n = 359) is used to better understand this drug-using population. The study describes the sample “profile” using information about respondents’ demographics, patterns of use, medical conditions and symptoms, healthcare involvement, reasons for use, and experience using cannabis. Cannabis career typologies are constructed with k-means cluster analysis and distinctions are drawn between Canadian and British respondents using descriptive and comparative statistical analyses. Respondents’ sociability and resourcefulness are investigated with a “sociability scale” and a descriptive account of their “cannabis network.” Finally, logistic regression is used to identify which factors are associated with elevated odds of encountering social, legal and supply-side barriers. Four models (“cannabis career,” “needs-based,” “resource-based,” and “risk-based”) are used to determine whether unique features of the user-profile can explain who encounters barriers beyond nationality/residency alone. Additionally, the study considers separately the subpopulation of users that grow their own as a means of overcoming the access barrier. With few exceptions, the profile of users is the same for Canadians and Britons; however, when it comes to the barriers, the notable distinctions are country-specific and largely stem from policy. The study describes the major similarities and differences between the two populations and considers their policy and research implications.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Neil Boyd
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: School of Criminology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Using publicity to get medicine: How political participation can alter world trade policy and secure medicines for the global poor

Author: 
Date created: 
2018-04-18
Abstract: 

Despite HIV becoming a manageable illness due to advancements in pharmaceuticals, over a million people still die every year due to AIDS – most of them poor, in the global South, who cannot afford to pay for treatment. What might allow them to secure medicines? My study of changes in trade policy shows that agreements originally designed to favour pharmaceutical companies can be implemented in ways that lead to increases in access to medicines for the global poor. I argue that domestic and international activism creates global public pressure, and is the key to altering the trajectory of trade policy implementation. Because access to affordable medicines for the global poor is more likely to occur when trade policies face public scrutiny, I call for transparent and accessible trade negotiations and enforcement in the WTO. In essence, I call for a democratization of the international trade regime.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
David Laycock
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Political Science
Thesis type: 
(Research Project) M.A.

Robust real-time hands-and-face detection for human robot interaction

Date created: 
2018-04-27
Abstract: 

With recent advances, robots have become more affordable and intelligent, which expands their application domain and number of consumers. Having robots around us in our daily lives creates a demand for an interaction system for communicating humans' intentions and commands to robots. We are interested in interactions that are easy, intuitive, and do not require the human to use any additional equipment. We present a robust real-time system for visual detection of hands and faces in RGB and gray-scale images based on a Deep Convolutional Neural Network. This system is designed to meet the requirements of a hands-free interface to UAVs described below that could be used for communicating to other robots equipped with a monocular camera using only hands and face gestures without any extra instruments. This work is accompanied by a novel hands-and-faces detection dataset gathered and labelled from a wide variety of sources including our own Human-UAV interaction videos, and several third-party datasets. By training our model on all these data, we obtain qualitatively good detection results in terms of both accuracy and speed on a commodity GPU. The same detector gives state-of-the-art accuracy and speed in a hand-detection benchmark and competitive results in a face detection benchmark. To demonstrate its effectiveness for Human-Robot Interaction we describe its use as the input to a novel, simple but practical gestural Human-UAV interface for static gesture detection based on hand position relative to the face. A small vocabulary of hand gestures is used to demonstrate our end-to-end pipeline for un-instrumented human-UAV interaction useful for entertainment or industrial applications. All software, training and test data produced for this thesis is released as an Open Source contribution.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
A demonstration of our system for un-instrumented Human-UAV interaction
Senior supervisor: 
Richard Vaughan
Department: 
Applied Sciences: School of Computing Science
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.Sc.

Scour pool incision in bedrock canyons

Author: 
Date created: 
2018-04-30
Abstract: 

A flume experiment was conducted to investigate the effect of lateral constrictions on the initiation and evolution of scour pools in bedrock canyons. Results show that lateral constriction can initiate the formation of a scour pool. Deceleration of the flow upstream of the constricted canyon promotes alluviation, while flow acceleration through the canyon prevents a permanent sediment cover from developing. The elevation difference upstream and through the canyon causes flow and sediment to plunge towards the bed, enhancing scouring. The erosion rate was controlled by sediment size and presence of alluvial cover. Scour pools reach equilibrium morphology for a given constant discharge and sediment supply by cutting a slot, which then gets deep enough to maintain a permanent alluvial cover, protecting the bed from further vertical erosion and promoting lateral erosion. Shear stress calculated from the near-bed velocity gradient and Reynolds shear stresses are counterintuitively large in alluviated areas and low in places where the bed is clear of sediment. This highlights a general problem with using shear stress as a predictor of alluviation and rock erosion patterns in highly non-uniform flows. However, changes in near-bed velocity had strong correlations with alluviation patterns and erosion rate, suggesting near-bed velocity may be a more practical way to calculate rock erosion rates in non-uniform flows.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Jeremy Venditti
Department: 
Environment: Department of Geography
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.Sc.

Practicing precarity: The contested politics of work experience in cultural industries

Date created: 
2018-02-23
Abstract: 

Over the past decade in Canada, student work has become a topic of public criticism, legal action, academic research, and labour activism. Cultural industry employers’ use of unpaid, low-paid, and flexibilized labour in the form of internships and other kinds of ‘work experience’ raises questions about the future of work in already precarious fields such as news production, advertising, television, and film. Against the backdrop of neoliberal processes still shaping universities and labour markets, the student worker emerges as a strategic figure in the contested politics of cultural work. This thesis offers a theoretical and empirical investigation of the dominant discourse and counter-discourse through which work experience is constructed, legitimized, critiqued, and re-visioned. Drawing on autonomist Marxist theory, critical philosophies of education, and feminist political economy, I situate cultural work experience as a discursive site where struggles over knowledge production and labour rights become visible and urgent.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Enda Brophy
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Communication
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Viability, growth, development, and performance of juvenile sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) exposed to neonicotinoid pesticides

Author: 
Date created: 
2018-04-10
Abstract: 

The effects of the neonicotinoid insecticide imidacloprid on sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) exposed from 1 h post-fertilization to the swim-up fry developmental stage were evaluated using a gravel-bed flume incubator designed to simulate a natural streambed environment. This chronic exposure tested nominal imidacloprid concentrations of 0.15, 1.5, 15, and 150 µg/L to investigate the effects on hatching success and timing, deformity rates and growth. The effects of the neonicotinoid insecticides thiamethoxam, imidacloprid, and clothianidin, and mixtures of all three on burst swimming performance and routine metabolism in sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) were also examined after acute 96-h exposures. There was no evidence that chronic exposures impacted growth, development, hatch timing and success or survival in sockeye salmon during the embryonic pre-hatch and post-hatch alevin developmental stages. There was also no evidence that acute exposures to environmentally relevant concentrations of neonicotinoids impacted swim performance or routine metabolism in swim-up fry.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Chris Kennedy
Department: 
Science: Biological Sciences Department
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.E.T.

Examining the social, sexual, and technological behaviour of gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men

Date created: 
2018-04-04
Abstract: 

Online sex seeking (OSS) has previously been associated with condomless anal sex (CAS) among gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (GBM). Previous studies suggest that this association may be due in part to the uptake of OSS among GBM who are more likely to engage in CAS. This thesis examines the interpersonal factors that might underlie this association. Data for this thesis was collected through the Momentum Health Study, a longitudinal cohort of GBM living in Metro Vancouver and recruited using Respondent-Driven Sampling. Latent class analysis, hierarchical regression, and structural equation models examined (i) patterns of online and offline community connectedness, (ii) covariates of event-level CAS within the context of online-initiated partnerships, and (iii) confounding effects of collectivism on the OSS-CAS relationship. Latent modeling of patterns of community connectedness identified three classes: Class 1, “Socialites,” (38.8%) were highly connected both online and offline. Class 2, “Traditionalists,” (25.7%) were moderately connected with little app/website-use. Class 3, “Techies,” (35.4%) had high online connectedness and relatively low in-person connectedness. In multivariable modelling, Socialites had higher collectivism than Traditionalists, who had higher collectivism than Techies. Patterns of community connectedness were also related to HIV-testing, perceptions of HIV stigma, serodisclosure, and condom use. Supporting these findings, hierarchical event-level logistic regression showed that collectivism, altruism, and social embeddedness were protective factors against CAS – particularly for HIV-negative men. Structural equation modelling revealed that collectivism, altruism, and sensation seeking accounted for approximately 40% of the association between OSS and CAS. In conclusion, these analyses suggest that collectivism, and related sociocultural constructs, promotes greater adherence to established HIV-prevention practices (such as condom use) while individualism may be more amenable to novel risk-reduction strategies which may or may not include condoms. While further research is needed to understand the plasticity of these interpersonal factors, these results suggest that programs facilitating collectivism might have the potential to establish broad sexual health norms. Furthermore, sex-positive risk reduction is likely an important component of HIV prevention for GBM who are less attuned to traditional social influences – many of whom predominantly use the Internet to connect with other GBM.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Robert S. Hogg
Department: 
Health Sciences: Faculty of Health Sciences
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

School's out for the summer: Slowing the growth of summer educational achievement gaps in British Columbia

Author: 
Date created: 
2018-03-02
Abstract: 

The summer reading setback is a major driver of educational inequality across British Columbia. This capstone research project examines educational inequality in the province and analyzes policy options to reduce the growth of summer educational achievement gaps. The analysis focuses on three international case studies, with a literature review and interviews that confirm the results. The policy options considered include targeted summer programs in low-achieving schools, targeted summer programs across the province, and the expansion of existing summer reading programs in libraries.

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