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.

Twitterbot Surveys: A Method for Magazine Audience Analysis

Date created: 
2016-12-06
Abstract: 

The purpose of this study is to explore automated surveys on Twitter as a method for magazines to analyse their audiences and identify best practices for conducting the surveys. To do this I conducted a pilot survey with Twitter users who shared a New Yorker article. I tested the response rate of twelve different question variants looking at question type, type of appeal to respondent used, and whether the tweet was sent as a @reply or @mention. The results showed the survey as a whole had a 23.2% response rate. I found a multiple-choice question, appealing to the respondents’ ego sent as a @reply generated the highest response rate at 40.0%. The results of this pilot survey show the viability for this method to provide magazines with access to their audiences. It suggests this method may provide magazines with timely and efficient access to audience insights.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Juan Pablo Alperin
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: Publishing Program
Thesis type: 
(Project Report) M.Pub.

Bridging Lives: Storytelling towards Agency, Advocacy and Change

Date created: 
2016-12-06
Abstract: 

In this thesis, I look at storytelling as it relates to the ability to bridge understanding with others and how it fosters advocacy, agency and change. In 2013, I was the videographer/photographer to a New Westminster community initiative. Based on this experience of witnessing story and its effect on a community, I was inspired to explore social change and personal agency within storytelling. With the use of Narrative Portraiture as my writing method, the thesis follows six-storytelling journeys through the challenges of immigrating to a new land. While in the midst of witnessing these storied journeys with other community participants, I started to recognize a transformation in the community as well as myself. This storytelling project became one component of a Welcoming and Inclusive New Westminster(WINS) initiative that explored a participatory action research(PAR) method as its knowledge acquisition. PAR utilizes a dialogical, recursive, reflective, and iterative approach to achieve change within practices whether individually or globally. Using the two different methodological approaches the reader will witness the journeys as experienced by others, amidst evolving social and personal changes.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Dr. Vicki Kelly
Dr. Michael Ling
Department: 
Education: Faculty of Education
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Leveraging Compiler Alias Analysis To Free Accelerators from Load-Store Queues

Author: 
Date created: 
2016-12-06
Abstract: 

Hardware accelerators are an energy efficient alternative to general purpose processors for specific program regions. They have relied on the compiler to extract instruction level parallelism but may waste significant energy in memory disambiguation and discovering memory level parallelism (MLP). Currently, accelerators either i) Define the problem away, and rely on massively parallel programming models [1, 48] to extract MLP. ii) Reuse the Out of Order (OoO) processor [7, 28], and rely on power hungry load-store queues (LSQs) for memory disambiguation, or iii) Serialize – some accelerators [47] focus on program regions where MLP is not important and simply serialize memory operations. We present NACHOS, a compiler assisted energy efficient approach to memory disambiguation, which completely eliminates the need for an LSQ. NACHOS classifies memory operations pairwise into those that don’t alias (i.e., independent memory operations), must alias (i.e., ordering is required between memory operations), and may alias (i.e., compiler is unsure). To enforce program order between must alias memory operations, the compiler inserts ordering edges that are enforced as def-use data dependencies. When the compiler is unsure (i.e., may alias) about a pair of memory operations, the hardware checks if they are independent. We demonstrate that compiler alias analysis with additional refinement can achieve high accuracy for hardware accelerated regions. In our workload suite comprising of SPEC2k, SPEC2k6, and PARSEC workloads; Across 15 applications NACHOS imposes no energy overhead over the function units (i.e., compiler resolves all dependencies), and in another 12 applications NACHOS consumes =17% of function unit energy (max: 53% in povray). Overall NACHOS achieves performance similar to an optimized LSQ and adds an overhead equal to 2.3X of compute energy.

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

Calculation of rates for radioactive isotope beam production at TRIUMF

Author: 
Date created: 
2016-11-15
Abstract: 

Access to new and rare radioactive isotopes is imperative for establishing fundamental knowledge and for its application in nuclear science. Rare Isotope Beam (RIB) facilities around the world, such as TRIUMF, work towards development of new target materials to generate increasingly exotic species, which are used in nuclear medicine, astrophysics and fundamental physics studies. At Simon Fraser University and TRIUMF, a computer simulation of the RIB targets used at the Isotope Separation and ACceleration (ISAC) facility of TRIUMF was built, to compliment existing knowledge and to support new target material development. The simulation was built using the GEANT4 nuclear transport toolkit, and can simulate the production rate of isotopes from user-defined beam and target characteristics. The simulation models the bombardment of a production target by an incident high-energy particle beam and calculates isotope production rates via fission, fragmentation and spallation. In-target production rates from the simulation were analysed and compared to production mechanisms within the simulation environment, other nuclear transport algorithms and to the experimentally measured yield rates from the ISAC yield station. Additionally, preliminary studies were conducted using these in-target production rates as illustrative examples, showing the capabilities and power of the simulation.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Corina Andreoiu
Peter Kunz
Department: 
Science: Department of Chemistry
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.Sc.

Divided Loyalties: Induction to Changing Expectations The Perceptions of a Group of Recently Appointed University Faculty about the Expectations for Teaching and Research in the Performance of their Professorial Roles.

Date created: 
2016-09-12
Abstract: 

University professors are under growing pressures to perform multiple roles with excellence. The changing landscape of education in the 21st century increasingly calls for professors to excel in both the craft of teaching and research scholarship in their fields of scholarship. In their core vision and purpose statements research universities are recommitting to achieving excellence in student engagement in learning by promoting scholarship and performance in teaching and by developing in-service education programs to assist faculty in meeting these expectations. However, how do faculty view the increasing commitments to excellence in instruction?This study reports on the perceptions of a group of faculty recently appointed to positions in a large research university regarding their understandings of the roles and expectations associated with their new positions. Findings were derived from in-depth semi-structured interviews with nine full-time faculty members at a public university in Western Canada. All interview participants had been hired within five years of the study’s commencement in the summer of 2013. Faculty perceptions of expectations and responsibilities for instruction, research, and service, were contrasted with their lived experiences of induction processes, institutional support, and the relative priorities seen as being attached to performance in research and teaching roles.Participating faculty reported a variety of experiences in their orientations and inductions by the university and their respective departments as new appointees. Participants described perceiving a sense of competing priorities between the pursuit of research in their disciplines and the demands of teaching. They also expressed beliefs that research activities are given greater weight than teaching performance in assessments for contract renewal, tenure, and promotion. Faculty hired specifically as Lecturers, without the expectation of developing research careers, expressed greater clarity regarding role expectations, although some still wished to conduct research as an optional extension to their job descriptions. The study offers suggestions for improvements to university induction practices and suggests that while induction and orientation are often focused on the early stages of an appointment to a new position, there is a need for on-going professional development directed both at teaching and research roles throughout the careers of university professors.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Milton McClaren
Department: 
Education: Faculty of Education
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ed.D.

A Computational Framework for Expressive, Personality-based, Non-verbal Behaviour for Affective 3D Character Agents

Author: 
Date created: 
2016-12-13
Abstract: 

Badler defined virtual humanoid characters as computer models of humans that can be used in several applications such as training and entertainment. For the humanoid characters to be credible and human-like, they must exhibit realistic and consistent nonverbal behavior. It is this consistency that ultimately instills in human users a sense that the characters have distinct personalities. Despite this importance, relatively little work has so far been done on the consistency of a 3D character’s behaviour during interaction with human users and their environments. Current 3D virtual character systems lack the ability to maintain the consistency of their behaviour during real-time interaction which can lead to users’ frustration and resentment.This thesis presents the design, implementation, and evaluation of a system named “RealAct” that controls the non-verbal behaviour of virtual characters. To make the virtual characters behave in a believable and consistent manner, the system controls non-verbal behavior such as gaze, facial expression, gesture and posture to give the impression of a specific personality type. The design and development of different modules of the RealAct system, e.g. for controlling the behaviour and generating emotion, is directly modelled from existing behavioural and computational literature. In addition to these core modules, the RealAct system contains a library of modules that are specifically geared toward real-time behavior control needs such as sensory inputs, scheduling of behaviour, and controlling the attention of the character.To evaluate and validate different aspects of the RealAct system, four experimental studies using both passive video-based and presential real-time paradigms were performed. The results of these experiments show that the amount of extraversion and emotional-stability that participants attributed to virtual characters depended on a combination of facial expression, gaze and posture and gestures that they exhibited. In summary, it was shown that the RealAct is effective in conveying the impression of the personality of virtual characters to users. It is hoped that the RealAct system provides a promising framework to guide the modelling of personality in virtual characters and how to create specific characters.

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

The cities, they tremble

Author: 
Date created: 
2016-10-21
Abstract: 

'The cities, they tremble' traces the connections between place, identity and sound, through an examination of resonance and vibration in everyday life. When speaking of our sounding environments, the distinction between the body and its environment becomes blurred - our bodies literally resonate with our surroundings through the vibration of sound. Informed by a practice in active listening and improvisation, 'The cities, they tremble' is an attempt to reveal the hidden processes that surround and influence us, as well as the ways in which our individual notions of place and identity are shaped and mediated through these sounds.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Short video documentation of sound installation 'Inanimate dialogue'
Short video documentation of sound installation 'Every space is constantly trembling'
Short video documentation of sound installation 'Listening to the sea from at least twelve points of hearing'
Senior supervisor: 
Martin Gotfrit
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School for the Contemporary Arts
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.F.A.

Revisiting itemmetrics: Do psychologists need to watch their language?

Date created: 
2016-12-13
Abstract: 

Despite a long tradition of studying psychometric properties of self-report questionnaires in psychology, the literature identifying specific linguistic features of questionnaire items is sparse. Moreover, it is unclear whether linguistic features affect all individuals similarly, or interact with individual characteristics. The present study offers a novel methodological contribution whereby a variety of linguistic features, based on the domains typically studied by linguists (i.e., morphology, syntax, semantics), are proposed. To demonstrate how these itemmetrics can be used empirically, we analyzed data from the Center for Epidemiological Studies-Depression (CES-D) scale. Additionally, we probed interactions between sex and English fluency and each of the features to examine whether there were differential effects depending on the individual. Our results suggest that certain features may impact responding and interact with individual characteristics. We argue that our findings necessitate a stronger focus on this area of research.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Rachel T. Fouladi
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Psychology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Sugar's Waste

Date created: 
2016-11-08
Abstract: 

Sugar’s Waste is an experimental, theatrical music performance, one hour in duration. The work features songs, experimental choral work, and atmospheric instrumental pieces. The scores are created by hand, using a combination of traditional, durational, graphic and indeterminate notation. The core ensemble is a string quintet that doubles as a vocal chorus; some pieces feature further additions, such as live digital processing, electric guitar, piano and hand-held tape recorders. Short poetry readings are scattered throughout. Sugar’s Waste is related to 20th and 21st Century non-narrative, post-operatic practices, as well as popular music formats such as conceptually-integrated recorded albums. The songs and scores were written concurrently with a series of poetic texts that address themes of partition, enclosure and resistance in the historical and imaginary ‘range’ of early post-contact North America. These themes inspired the staging, set and sound design of the work.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Appendix A. Audio recording of Sugar’s Waste (Night Two, October 6th and 7th 2016).
Appendix A. 1. Audio recording of Cassette Loop Ooh + Transport Truck
Appendix A. 2. Audio Recording of Nora, listening
Appendix A. 3. Audio Recording of No Place in the Sun
Appendix A. 4. Audio recording of Ring Oscillator
Appendix A. 5. Audio Recording of The Heard Surrounds
Appendix A. 6. Audio recording of Thickets
Appendix A. 7. Audio Recording of Ponies under Darkness.
Senior supervisor: 
Owen Underhill
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School for the Contemporary Arts
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.F.A.

Algorithms for Scheduling and Routing Problems

Date created: 
2016-11-29
Abstract: 

Optimization has been a central topic in most scientific disciplines for centuries. Continuous optimization has long benefited from well-established techniques of calculus. Discrete optimization, on the other hand, has risen to prominence quite recently. Advances in combinatorial optimization and integer programming in the past few decades, together with the improvement of computer hardware have enabled computer scientists to approach the the problems in this area both theoretically and computationally. However, obtaining the exact solution for many discrete optimization problems remains is still a challenging task, mainly because most of these problems are NP-hard. Under the widespread assumption that P ≠ NP, these problems are intractable from a computational complexity standpoint. Therefore, we should settle for near-optimal solutions. In this thesis, we develop techniques to obtain solutions that are provably close to the optimal for different indivisible resource allocation problems. Indivisible resource allocation encompasses a large class of problems in discrete optimization which can appear in disguise in various theoretical or applied settings. Specifically, we consider two indivisible resource allocation problems. The first one is a variant of the vehicle routing problem known as Skill Vehicle Routing problem, in which the aim is to obtain optimal tours for a fleet of vehicles that provides service to a set of customers. Each of the vehicles possesses a particular set of skills suitable for a subset of the tasks. Each customer, based on the type of service he requires, can only be served by a subset of vehicles. We study this problem computationally and find either the optimal solution or a relatively tight bound on the optimal solution on fairly large problem instances. The second problem involves approximation algorithms for two versions of the classic scheduling problem, the restricted $R||C_{max}$ and the restricted Santa Claus problem. The objective is to design a polynomial time approximation scheme (PTAS) for ordered instances of the two problems. Finally, we consider the class of precedence hierarchies in which the neighborhoods of the processors form Laminar families. We show similar results for a generalization of this model.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Ramesh Krishnamurti
Department: 
Applied Sciences: School of Computing Science
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.