Graduate Theses & Dissertations


This thesis focuses on the design of a modelling framework consisting of loose-coupling of a sequence of spatial and process models and procedures necessary to predict future flood events for the years 2030 and 2050 in Tabasco Mexico. Temperature and precipitation data from the Hadley Centers Coupled Model (HadCM3), for those future years were downscaled using the Statistical Downscaling Model (SDSM4.2.9). These data were then used along with a variety of digital spatial data and models (current land use, soil characteristics, surface elevation and rivers) to parameterize the Soil Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) model and predict flows. Flow data were then input into the Hydrological Engineering Centers-River Analysis System (HEC-RAS) model. This model mapped the areas that are expected to be flooded based on the predicted flow values. Results from this modelling sequence generate images of flood extents, which are then ported to an online tool (ADAPT) for display. The results of this thesis indicate that with current prediction of climate change the city of Villahermosa, Tabasco, Mexico, and the surrounding area will experience a substantial amount of flooding. Therefore there is a need for adaptation planning to begin immediately. Author Keywords: Adaptation Planning, Climate Change, Extreme Weather Events, Flood Planning, Simulation Modelling
Agro-Ecological Zoning (AEZ) of Southern Ontario and the Projected Shifts Caused by Climate Change in the Long-term Future
This thesis proposes an agro-ecological zoning (AEZ) methodology of southern Ontario for the characterization and mapping of agro-ecological zones during the historical term (1981-2010), and their shifts into the long-term (2041-2070) projected climate period. Agro-ecological zones are homogenous areas with a unique combination of climate, soil, and landscape features that are important for crop growth. Future climate variables were derived from Earth System Models (EMSs) using a high emission climate forcing scenario from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 5th Assessment Report. The spatiotemporal shifts in agro-ecological zones with projected climate change are analyzed using the changes to the length of growing period (LGP) and crop heat units (CHU), and their manifestation in agro-climatic zones (ACZ). There are significant increases to the LGP and CHU into the long-term future. Two historical ACZs exist in the long-term future, and have decreased in area and shifted northward from their historical locations. Author Keywords: Agro-climatic Zones, Agro-ecological Zones, Agro-ecological Zoning, Climate Change, Crop Heat Units, Length of Growing Period
An Application of the Sinc-Collocation Method in Oceanography
In this thesis, we explore the application of the Sinc-Collocation method to an oceanography model. The model of interest describes a wind-driven current with depth-dependent eddy viscosity and is formulated in two different systems; a complex-velocity system and a real-value coupled system. In general, the Sinc-based methods excel over other traditional numerical methods due to their exponentially decaying errors, rapid convergence and handling problems in the presence of singularities at end-points. In addition, the Sinc-Collocation approach that we utilize exploits first derivative interpolation, whose integration is less sensitive to numerical errors. We present several model problems to demonstrate the accuracy, and stability of the method. We compare the approximate solutions determined by the Sinc-Collocation technique with exact solutions and also with those obtained by the Sinc-Galerkin approach in earlier studies. Our findings indicate that the method we utilized outperforms those used in past studies. Author Keywords: Boundary Value Problems, Eddy Viscosity, Oceanography, Sinc Numerical Methods, Wind-Driven Currents
An Emprirical Investigation into the Relationship Between Education and Health
Health literature has long noted a positive correlation between health and levels of education. Two competing theories have been advanced to explain this phenomenon: (1) education "causes" health by allowing individuals to process complex information and act on it; and, (2) education and health are merely correlated through some third underlying characteristic. Determining which of these two theories is correct is of importance to public policy. But that task is empirically difficult because, from the standard, static perspective, the theories are observationally equivalent. We exploit a way in which the two theories have different implications regarding the sort of behaviour we should observe over time. We use smoking as a measure of health behaviour and find that smoking rates between "high" and "low" educated individuals expand when information is hard to process, and then contract as it becomes more easily processable. This approach is then repeated using physical activity as a measure of health-related behaviour to address limitations of the smoking model. Our novel approach to estimating the differences in the behavioural responses to changes in the processability of health-related information, across education groups, provides strong evidence in support of the view that education and health are causally linked. Author Keywords: applied statistics, education, health economics, public health, public policy, smoking
An Ethical Analysis of Bell's Targeted Ad Prorgram
Online behavioural advertising (OBA) is an advertising technique which relies on collected customer information and online activity to serve people with more relevant ads. On November 16th, 2013, Bell Canada launched their first OBA program via Bell Mobility: the Bell Targeted Ads Program, or BTAP. My thesis provides an ethical analysis of BTAP and shows that Bell undermined and violated customer privacy, stifled customer autonomy, and harmed customer identity. Relevant moral problems include typification, a disrespecting of customer autonomy, and identity commodification. I show that BTAP was unethical by grounding my arguments within the moral framework of Information Ethics (IE). IE is an ethical system which focuses on the role of information in the ethical dilemmas. IE also justifies the self-constitutive theory of privacy (SCP) which argues that our information and privacy are entangled with our identities. This gives us strong reason to defend our privacy/identity within BTAP. After making several arguments which demonstrate that BTAP was unethical, I will then turn my attention to showing how it is possible to rectify and mitigate many of BTAP’s ethical problems by installing a two-stage opt-in (TSOI) which provides customers with a greater deal of autonomy, and the ability to remove themselves from BTAP. Author Keywords: Bell Canada, Ethics, Identity, Online Behavioural Advertising, Privacy, Targeted Advertising
An Investigation of Load Balancing in a Distributed Web Caching System
With the exponential growth of the Internet, performance is an issue as bandwidth is often limited. A scalable solution to reduce the amount of bandwidth required is Web caching. Web caching (especially at the proxy-level) has been shown to be quite successful at addressing this issue. However as the number and needs of the clients grow, it becomes infeasible and inefficient to have just a single Web cache. To address this concern, the Web caching system can be set up in a distributed manner, allowing multiple machines to work together to meet the needs of the clients. Furthermore, it is also possible that further efficiency could be achieved by balancing the workload across all the Web caches in the system. This thesis investigates the benefits of load balancing in a distributed Web caching environment in order to improve the response times and help reduce bandwidth. Author Keywords: adaptive load sharing, Distributed systems, Load Balancing, Simulation, Web Caching
An Investigation of the Impact of Big Data on Bioinformatics Software
As the generation of genetic data accelerates, Big Data has an increasing impact on the way bioinformatics software is used. The experiments become larger and more complex than originally envisioned by software designers. One way to deal with this problem is to use parallel computing. Using the program Structure as a case study, we investigate ways in which to counteract the challenges created by the growing datasets. We propose an OpenMP and an OpenMP-MPI hybrid parallelization of the MCMC steps, and analyse the performance in various scenarios. The results indicate that the parallelizations produce significant speedups over the serial version in all scenarios tested. This allows for using the available hardware more efficiently, by adapting the program to the parallel architecture. This is important because not only does it reduce the time required to perform existing analyses, but it also opens the door to new analyses, which were previously impractical. Author Keywords: Big Data, HPC, MCMC, parallelization, speedup, Structure
Application of One-factor Models for Prices of Crops and Option Pricing Process
This thesis is intended to support dependent-on-crops farmers to hedge the price risks of their crops. Firstly, we applied one-factor model, which incorporated a deterministic function and a stochastic process, to predict the future prices of crops (soybean). A discrete form was employed for one-month-ahead prediction. For general prediction, de-trending and de-cyclicality were used to remove the deterministic function. Three candidate stochastic differential equations (SDEs) were chosen to simulate the stochastic process; they are mean-reverting Ornstein-Uhlenbeck (OU) process, OU process with zero mean, and Brownian motion with a drift. Least squares methods and maximum likelihood were used to estimate the parameters. Results indicated that one-factor model worked well for soybean prices. Meanwhile, we provided a two-factor model as an alternative model and it also performed well in this case. In the second main part, a zero-cost option package was introduced and we theoretically analyzed the process of hedging. In the last part, option premiums obtained based on one-factor model could be compared to those obtained from Black-Scholes model, thus we could see the differences and similarities which suggested that the deterministic function especially the cyclicality played an essential role for the soybean price, thus the one-factor model in this case was more suitable than Black-Scholes model for the underlying asset. Author Keywords: Brownian motion, Least Squares Method, Maximum Likelihood Method, One-factor Model, Option Pricing, Ornstein-Uhlenbeck Process
Augmented Reality Sandbox (Aeolian Box)
The AeolianBox is an educational and presentation tool extended in this thesis to represent the atmospheric boundary layer (ABL) flow over a deformable surface in the sandbox. It is a hybrid hardware cum mathematical model which helps users to visually, interactively and spatially fathom the natural laws governing ABL airflow. The AeolianBox uses a Kinect V1 camera and a short focal length projector to capture the Digital Elevation Model (DEM) of the topography within the sandbox. The captured DEM is used to generate a Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) model and project the ABL flow back onto the surface topography within the sandbox. AeolianBox is designed to be used in a classroom setting. This requires a low time cost for the ABL flow simulation to keep the students engaged in the classroom. Thus, the process of DEM capture and CFD modelling were investigated to lower the time cost while maintaining key features of the ABL flow structure. A mesh-time sensitivity analysis was also conducted to investigate the tradeoff between the number of cells inside the mesh and time cost for both meshing process and CFD modelling. This allows the user to make an informed decision regarding the level of detail desired in the ABL flow structure by changing the number of cells in the mesh. There are infinite possible surface topographies which can be created by molding sand inside the sandbox. Therefore, in addition to keeping the time cost low while maintaining key features of the ABL flow structure, the meshing process and CFD modelling are required to be robust to variety of different surface topographies. To achieve these research objectives, in this thesis, parametrization is done for meshing process and CFD modelling. The accuracy of the CFD model for ABL flow used in the AeolianBox was qualitatively validated with airflow profiles captured in the Trent Environmental Wind Tunnel (TEWT) at Trent University using the Laser Doppler Anemometer (LDA). Three simple geometries namely a hemisphere, cube and a ridge were selected since they are well studied in academia. The CFD model was scaled to the dimensions of the grid where the airflow was captured in TEWT. The boundary conditions were also kept the same as the model used in the AeolianBox. The ABL flow is simulated by using software like OpenFoam and Paraview to build and visualize a CFD model. The AeolianBox is interactive and capable of detecting hands using the Kinect camera which allows a user to interact and change the topography of the sandbox in real time. The AeolianBox’s software built for this thesis uses only opensource tools and is accessible to anyone with an existing hardware model of its predecessors. Author Keywords: Augmented Reality, Computational Fluid Dynamics, Kinect Projector Calibration, OpenFoam, Paraview
Cloud Versus Bare Metal
A comparison of two high performance computing clusters running on AWS and Sharcnet was done to determine which scenarios yield the best performance. Algorithm complexity ranged from O (n) to O (n3). Data sizes ranged from 195 KB to 2 GB. The Sharcnet hardware consisted of Intel E5-2683 and Intel E7-4850 processors with memory sizes ranging from 256 GB to 3072 GB. On AWS, C4.8xlarge instances were used, which run on Intel Xeon E5-2666 processors with 60 GB per instance. AWS was able to launch jobs immediately regardless of job size. The only limiting factors on AWS were algorithm complexity and memory usage, suggesting a memory bottleneck. Sharcnet had the best performance but could be hampered by the job scheduler. In conclusion, Sharcnet is best used when the algorithm is complex and has high memory usage. AWS is best used when immediate processing is required. Author Keywords: AWS, cloud, HPC, parallelism, Sharcnet
Compression Cone Method on Existence of Solutions for Semi-linear Equations
With wide applications in many fields such as engineering, physics, chemistry, biology and social sciences, semi-linear equations have attracted great interests of researchers from various areas. In the study of existence of solutions for such class of equations, a general and commonly applied method is the compression cone method for fixed-point index. The main idea is to construct a cone in an ordered Banach space based on the linear part so that the nonlinear part can be examined in a relatively smaller region. In this thesis, a new class of cone is proposed as a generalization to previous work. The construction of the cone is based on properties of both the linear and nonlinear part of the equation. As a result, the method is shown to be more adaptable in applications. We prove new results for both semi-linear integral equations and algebraic systems. Applications are illustrated by examples. Limitations of such new method are also discussed. Keywords: Algebraic systems; compression cone method; differential equations; existence of solutions; fixed point index; integral equations; semi-linear equations. Author Keywords: algebraic systems, differential equations, existence of solutions, fixed point index, integral equations, semi-linear equations
Disability-Mitigating Effects of Education on Post-Injury Employment Dynamics
Using data drawn from the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board’s (WSIB) Survey of Workers with Permanent Impairments, this thesis explores if and how the human capital associated with education mitigates the realized work-disabling effects of permanent physical injury. Using Cater’s (2000) model of post-injury adaptive behaviour and employment dynamics as the structural, theoretical, and interpretative framework, this thesis jointly studies, by injury type, the effects of education on both the post-injury probability of transitioning from non-employment into employment and the post-injury probability of remaining in employment once employed. The results generally show that, for a given injury type, other things being equal, higher levels of education are associated with higher probabilities of both obtaining and sustaining employment. Author Keywords: permanent impairment, permanent injury, post-injury employment


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