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.

Crime Prevention in Practice: An Analysis of Pharmacy Robberies

Date created: 
2017-08-17
Abstract: 

This paper investigates the incidents of pharmacy robberies in British Columbia, Canada between 2001 and 2016. Using rational choice theory and situational crime prevention, this paper examines the sudden decrease in pharmacy robberies in fall 2015 and proposes theory-based implementations that may further reduce counts of pharmacy robbery throughout the province. This study also measures the effect of recent bylaw implementation enacted in September 2015, and the effect this may have had on reducing pharmacy robbery counts throughout British Columbia. Employing negative binomial regression models, counts of monthly pharmacy robberies are analyzed in four locations: Vancouver, Lower Mainland, Interior, and Vancouver Island. Statistically significant results are found to support the preventative measures enacted by the pharmacy bylaw implementations.

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

Energy-speed-accuracy tradeoffs in a driven, stochastic, rotary machine

Date created: 
2017-08-03
Abstract: 

Molecular machines are stochastic systems capable of converting between different forms of energy such as chemical potential energy and mechanical work. The F1 subunit of ATP synthase couples the rotation of its central crankshaft with the synthesis or hydrolysis of ATP. This machine can reach maximal speeds of hundreds of rotations per second, and is believed to be capable of nearly 100% efficiency in near-equilibrium conditions, although a biased cycling machine is a nonequilibrium system and therefore must waste some energy in the form of dissipation. We explore the fundamental relationships among the accuracy, speed, and dissipated energy of such driven rotary molecular machines, in a simple model of F1. Simulations using Fokker-Planck dynamics are used to explore the parameter space of driving strength, internal energetics of the system, and rotation rate. A tradeoff between accuracy and work as speed increases is found to occur over the range of biologically rele- vant timescales. We search for a way to improve this tradeoff by applying approximations of dissipation minimizing protocols and find a reduction in both work and accuracy, yet accuracy drops less than the work does, leading to an overall decrease in the ratio of work to accuracy.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
David Sivak
Department: 
Science: Department of Physics
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.Sc.

Resolving Zero-Divisors of Radical Triangular Sets Using Hensel Lifting and Applications

Date created: 
2017-08-16
Abstract: 

This thesis aims to create efficient algorithms for computing in the ring R = Q[z1,...,zn]/T where T is a zero-dimensional triangular set. The presence of zero-divisors in R makes it a computational challenge to use modular algorithms. In particular, there has never been a proper modular algorithm for computing greatest common divisors of polynomials in R[x]. We present two new ways of resolving zero-divisors: Hensel lifting and fault tolerant rational reconstruction, which allows us to create a new modular gcd algorithm for R[x] as well as a new inversion algorithm for R. We have implemented our algorithms in Maple using the RECDEN library, and we show that they outperform the methods currently implemented in Maple's RegularChains package. The method of Hensel lifting for resolving zero-divisors should give rise to other new modular algorithms for computing modulo triangular sets and our applications show that this approach is fruitful.

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

Confronting a Triple Threat: Religion as a Response to Current Social, Political, and Environmental Crises

Date created: 
2017-08-18
Abstract: 

This paper explores how Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si contributes to the spiritual case for holistic intervention in current environmental, social and political crises. Precedents for religion being used successfully in campaigns for policy changes are established using historical examples, including: Tommy Douglas’ fight for public health care in Canada, John Muir’s work to establish a system of National Parks in the United States, and Desmond Tutu’s struggle to end apartheid in South Africa. Similarly, the Pope’s Encyclical contributes to the spiritual case for intervention in current environmental, social and political crises by making connections to shared values that transcend religion. Pope Francis makes the case that by making critical, and necessary changes to social, environmental and political policies through an integrated approach, rather than using the historically fragmented approaches that have addressed these crises individually with limited success, humanity will be better able to care for their common home.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Stephen Duguid
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Liberal Studies Program
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.A.L.S.

Vision-based Autonomous Navigation and Active Sensing with Micro Aerial Vehicles

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-08-21
Abstract: 

Micro aerial vehicles (MAVs) equipped with cameras provide a new perspective on the world. As MAVs have found important roles in industrial and recreational applications, they are actively studied in the research community. The focus has been the autonomy level. In other words, the MAV should be able to perform tasks autonomously to free human from laborious and risky work. At the basis of an autonomous system, there is the problem of autonomous navigation. In outdoor spaces, MAVs usually use GPS signals for self-localization. In indoor GPS-denied environments, autonomous navigation of MAVs is still an open research question. At the high level of an autonomous system, there is the problem of active sensing. An autonomous platform needs to actively optimize its navigation based on its current state and the environment. The constraints of vision sensors and complex environments pose challenges to this task. In this thesis, we propose our solutions to the two problems: vision based navigation and active sensing. In the first half of the thesis, we propose solutions of vision based navigation on two platforms. First, we present an ultra-light and -small MAV platform which can perform autonomous navigation in an unknown indoor environment. Secondly, we aim at a toy MAV. Accurate path following is achieved using the camera as the major sensor. In the second half, we address the active sensing problem in two interesting applications. We first investigate the active target sensing and following using a multi-robot collaborative system. The only sensors are cameras and the constraints of vision algorithms are taken into consideration while we design the motion controller. Lastly, we demonstrate an active image data acquisition system in the image based modeling application. The camera placement is optimized in the loop and online feedback is provided for the sensor planning. We demonstrate the fully autonomous active image based modeling system in simulated, indoor and outdoor environments.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Ping Tan
Richard Vaughan
Department: 
Applied Sciences: School of Computing Science
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

The Rise of Chinese Transnational ICT Corporations: The Case of Huawei

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-07-28
Abstract: 

This dissertation considers the case of Huawei Technologies, a China-based transnational ICT corporation, as a microcosm to investigate the rise of China’s ICT corporate power and its relevant global implications. By focusing on the interrelation of transnational capital, state and class, this study aims to understand how China’s most competitive ICT firm was born and developed, how it forged connections with the Chinese state and intertwined with the trajectory of China’s ICT development, and how it responded to various forces of corporate China’s globalization and evolving geopolitical economic tensions. This dissertation establishes the transnational corporation as an analytical unit and places the emphasis on Huawei’s corporate activities and structure, including the firm’s domestic capital accumulation, international expansion, technological capability development, organizational structures and labor process. It argues that the rise of Huawei was closely tied to the turns and twists of China’s digital revolution. It came to symbolize a continuity of China’s nation-centric developmental strategy and the legacies of self-reliant development on the one hand, and was enmeshed with the country’s aspirations of reintegration into transnational digital capitalism on the other. The company’s strategy of internationalization, in conjunction with the Chinese state’s outward expansion, illustrates a peculiar logic, pattern and ramification of Chinese capital’s outward expansion. By investigating the dynamics and contradictions of Huawei’s capital accumulation, this dissertation also foregrounds the geoeconomic and geopolitical tensions arising from the globalization of China’s corporate power. This case suggests a potential realignment of the global political economic order. Huawei’s story sheds light on certain indigenous experiences and distinguishing features that contribute to a path-breaking model of development. The firm’s path to technological innovation provides an example to look into the possibility of nurturing a self-reliant model of technological development in the context of China’s industrial restructuring. Its innovative design of the ownership structure also illustrates a distinct corporate structure and managerial practices with Chinese characteristics. This dissertation concludes that at the core of China’s path-breaking model lies in local alternatives and indigenous agencies that have the ability to insist on self-reliant, open-minded, innovation-oriented development strategies.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Yuezhi Zhao
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Communication
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Evaluating management strategies for grizzly bears in British Columbia, Canada

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-06-19
Abstract: 

In British Columbia, The Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations manages grizzly bear hunting as the most rigid and conservatively managed hunt in the province. However, there has been concern raised in the media and from some members of the academic community over the sustainability of grizzly bear hunting. It is unclear whether the current management strategy effectively incorporates uncertainties in grizzly bear biology and management. My research intends to address these concerns by utilizing a computer model to test the current provincial grizzly bear harvest management procedure, as well as other management options. Here, I developed a model to simulate grizzly bear population dynamics, provincial management, and hunting. Multiple sources of uncertainty were also included in the analysis. The results of this study highlight the potential benefits, challenges, and tradeoffs of three management options for grizzly bears given uncertainty in biological and management parameters.

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

Self-Compassion: Integrating Buddhist philosophy and practices with Western psychotherapy and a group counselling curriculum

Date created: 
2017-05-18
Abstract: 

In this dissertation, self-compassion and its significance to us are explored from the bifocal perspective of contemporary Western psychotherapy and Buddhist wisdom traditions containing philosophical, spiritual and psychological teachings. The dissertation explores the dialogue and synthesis that have been transpiring for the last few decades between Buddhist and Western psychological systems as proposed and practised by Buddhist and Western psychotherapists, psychiatrists and teachers on compassion and self-compassion. My personal orientation and experience of both Buddhism and the practice of Western psychotherapy serve to promote here a rich, meaningful integration and application of self-compassion in the arenas of education and human service, including schooling and mental health. Chapter 1 is a discussion of the context for my inspiration to study and research self-compassion as a Buddhist practitioner and psychotherapist. In chapter 2, I examine the Buddhist concept of self, as it is integral to the understanding of self-compassion. Perspectives and conceptualizations from some of the primary contributors to the burgeoning field of self-compassion are presented. Chapter 3 discusses further contemporary Buddhist discourses and applications on self-compassion in the therapeutic context. Topics of particular relevance are explored: mindfulness, Buddhist view of reality, wisdom, altruism and loving-kindness practice. In chapter 4, ancient Buddhist texts from both classical and ongoing traditional forms enrich the study; these provide a sacred historical authenticity to the discussion of compassion and honour the Buddhist foundational influences and practices. Chapter 5 is on emotion regulation. Self-compassion is the significant practice and skill involved in this topic. Emotional regulation, as it relates to cultivating positive emotions such as compassion and loving-kindness, has become integrated into affective contemplative practices. Chapter 6 presents scientific research relevant to compassion and self-compassion. Chapters 7, 8 and 9 present modalities for the development of self-compassion in group settings. Chapter 7 presents three major group therapy curricula used today by pioneers in the field of self-compassion: Compassion-Focused Therapy, Compassion Cultivation Training, and the Mindful Self-Compassion program. For chapter 8, I create a specialized self-compassion therapeutic application for Buddhist practitioners using a Tibetan Buddhist practice of Avalokiteshvara, the Buddha of compassion. Chapter 9 discusses my secular group psychotherapy curriculum for self-compassion. The appendix includes an in-depth nine-session guide for facilitators of that curriculum.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Heesoon Bai
Department: 
Education: Faculty of Education
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

DynDash: Multiple Coordinated Dashboards for Exploratory Data Analysis

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

Exploratory visual analysis is a good way to find novel, unforeseen insights in large amounts of data. Most existing Visual Analytics applications require the user to manually specify charts first. Such a depth-first strategy is unsuitable for novices due to lack of expertise. Voyager 2 proposed a mixed-initiative approach that blends manual specification with automatic chart recommendations. To facilitate iterative sensemaking, we extend this approach through enabling users to build multiple dashboards, each of which holds coordinated, fully interactive charts in a flexible layout. Together, this permits users to quickly get an overview of the data, while still being able to analyze details. We also present a new, non-intrusive filtering mechanism that enables creating, copying and editing of filters. We performed a qualitative study with novices and identified common usage patterns, which inform the design of future multi-dashboard Visual Analytics systems.

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

Mathematical reasoning among adults on the autism spectrum: Case studies with mathematically experienced participants

Date created: 
2017-08-08
Abstract: 

I investigate the unique or unusual characteristics of mathematical problem-solving among adults on the autism spectrum by conducting and analyzing three case studies. The case studies involve providing individuals with a variety of mathematical problems divided into four main groups: paradoxes of infinity, problems emphasizing algebraic or geometric solution, probability, and logic and proof. Participants are given individual interviews, intended to facilitate the communication of their thought processes when solving these problems. Results are analyzed with a variety of constructs, from a perspective that is rooted in Vygotskian ideas and supportive of neurodiversity.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Rina Zazkis
Department: 
Education: Faculty of Education
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.