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Best Dissertation of All Time

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    Culture, representation, and the Puerto Rican queer diaspora

    Culture, representation, and the Puerto Rican queer diaspora

    • Institution: Columbia University
    • Degree: PhD
    This study analyzes cultural productions including literature, theater, performance, dance, film, photography, clothing, and parades, which present the varying phenomena that comprise lesbian and gay Diasporic Puerto Rican experience. Comparison of texts and productions located in the place of origin (Puerto Rico) with those of the place of destination or birth (the United States) as well as analysis of the question of circular migration serves to illustrate the effects of discrimination, strategies of resistance and cultural regeneration, and the differences in experience between first- and second-generation migrant individuals. In Chapter I, I explore the confluence of a general phenomenon of queer experience (nomadology) and see its links to gay migration, particularly to expulsion from the community of origin, as shown in Luis Rafael Sanchez's short story "Jum!" I also analyze a series of texts by authors such as Rene Marques, Magali Garcia Ramis, and Antonio Martorell, which show both involvement in and resistance to this expulsion. In Chapter II, I focus on the experience of Puerto Rican migrants to the U.S. as shown in the work of Manuel Ramos Otero. His writings document a series of stages of this experience, which include initial alienation and anonymous wandering, partial integration into the established New York gay world, and finally, an approximation to the Puerto Rican community of that city and to the wider history of Puerto Rican migration. In Chapter III, I study the role of immigrant theater, performance and dance in New York City, focusing on the work of the Arthur Aviles Typical Theater Company. Arthur Aviles and Elizabeth Marrero's productions are characterized by their explorations of the experience of lesbian and gay Nuyorican subjects. Their relationship to Puerto Rico and Puerto Rican culture is noticeably different than that explored in the initial chapters. Finally, in Chapter IV, I look into the use of T-shirts with the Puerto Rican flag by gay and lesbian activists at the Puerto Rican Day Parade in N.Y.C., and meditate on the possibilities of their incorporation or resistance to what is broadly defined as the Puerto Rican Cultural Nation.
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    Test of a Formula of Maxwell´s

    • Institution: University of Vienna
    Lise Meitner´s dissertation. Published as "Conduction of Heat in Inhomogeneous Solids" (Wärmeleitung in inhomogenen Körpern) in the proceedings of the Vienna Physics Institute in February 1906. The referees were Franz Exner and Ludwig Boltzmann.
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    Distributed artificial intelligence

    • Institution: University of Maryland Baltimore County
    • Degree: Master's Degree
    Distributed artificial intelligence (DAI) is a subfield of artificial intelligence research dedicated to the development of distributed solutions for complex problems regarded as requiring intelligence. DAI is closely related to and a predecessor of the field of Multi-Agent Systems. There are many reasons for wanting to distribute intelligence or cope with multi-agent systems. Mainstreams in DAI research include the following: Notion of Agents: Agents can be described as distinct entities with standard boundaries and interfaces designed for problem solving. Notion of Multi-Agents:Multi-Agent system is defined as a network of agents which are loosely coupled working as a single entity like society for problem solving that an individual agent cannot solve. The key concept used in DPS and MABS is the abstraction called software agents. An agent is a virtual (or physical) autonomous entity that has an understanding of its environment and acts upon it. An agent is usually able to communicate with other agents in the same system to achieve a common goal, that one agent alone could not achieve. This communicate system uses an agent communication language. A first classification that is
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    Cybernetics, Information Theory and the new Rennaissance in Science

    • Institution: University of Brighton
    Introduction

    We live in a dynamic and chaotic period of history, we are undergoing gigantic social upheavals that are affecting  every aspect of life. We live in societies where information has become the currency upon which all transactions take place. Economic, philosophical, political, social, scientific, military/industrial, and technological barriers are being passed every day. In the place of the old forms of organization are being created new forms of association in which national, political or religious boundaries have become increasingly irrelevant.

    Attendant on and feeding this social upheaval is the gradual reunification of science. The computer age and the networking of all kinds of knowledge has served to distribute ideas so well that patterns are being seen in the world around us that have never been noticed before. These ideas are fundamental to many areas of inquiry, both in the humanities and sciences. Are we gaining a new common language and perspective from which to view the human and natural world? If so then it will changing society in many ways.

    The changes that are affecting us pose great problems that we must overcome. Science has never been a morally fervent area, and the information age boosts its power. There may be no end to the destruction that it could yield in the wrong hands. Business and finance have changed in the last few years. With the networking of banking systems money has become more difficult to control. Irresponsible or downright fraudulent banking can change whole world economies in the space of a day.

    Anthropologists are showing that throughout history we have been at the mercy of powers that are beyond our control. Whole societies have risen and fallen at their bidding. Little wonder then that governments are now employing chaos theoreticians and futurologists (people who were once regarded as cranks) to help them predict what kinds of changes are going to occur and how to make contingency plans for the days when they lose control.

    These changes are now recognized by science because of a new way of looking at the world. Previously they had been literally blind to the dynamics of social change, preferring to regard society as if were a kind of classical thermodynamic system where all social changes that take place are canceled out by all of the others. Economists are being forced to admit that when an economic strategy backfires to the tune of billions of pounds there must be something seriously wrong with theory! Society is not a linear system, it is powerfully non linear.

    A reunification of science promises to help us understand and live with the increased pace of change, even if it cannot help us predict it too well. This fabulous new movement in science has occurred in the last 30 years  and is the result of many factors. I will be discussing them in this dissertation. I will also be trying to trace some of their philosophical and scientific roots. The cornerstone to the new scientific revolution is a simple idea which is very easy to grasp - Feedback.

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    Expanding the Interaction Lexicon for 3D Graphics

    • Institution: Carnegie Mellon University
    • Degree: Doctorate
    Thesis Abstract: Historically user interfaces evolved in a series of rapid paradigm shifts followed by periods of incremental development. Because widely adopted user interfaces are resistant to change, we can potentially have a greater impact on improving interfaces by working on the next, rather than the current, interaction paradigm. While there are several candidate paradigms, I chose to focus on 3D interaction because of its potential to leverage people's natural and learned abilities. While current 3D interfaces are promising, we have only explored a small part of the design space. I believe that the reason is that we are limited by our assumptions when we build 3D interfaces. We all grow up in a fully immersive 3D world, and when we design virtual worlds we often transfer characteristics of the real world without considering other options. We have also been building worlds long enough to start thinking of the current methods as the correct methods, and thus rather than explore new parts of the design space we emulate existing work. I believe that to realize the potential of 3D interaction we need to expand the interaction lexicon for interactive 3D graphics. My hypothesis is that we can create demonstrably useful 3D interaction techniques by identifying and breaking our assumptions about the real world and about existing practice. I present an existence proof for this hypothesis consisting of interaction techniques that I created using this approach. These techniques allow users to manipulate objects using Voodoo Dolls, navigate large virtual worlds using Places and Landmarks, and specify the interaction semantics of 3D models by painting Interaction Surfaces. I also present experimental evaluations of these techniques that demonstrate their utility.
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    Necessary conjunction

    • Institution: Stanford University
    • Degree: Doctorate
    "Necessary conjunction: three marriages that shapes the Age of Reform, 1890-1930" is a PhD in history dissertation by Eric Rauchway.
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    Availability and Seasonal Use of Diurnal Roosts by Raphinesque's Big-Eared Bat and Southeastern Myotis in Bottomland Hardwoods of Mississippi

    • Institution: Mississippi State University
    • Degree: Master of Science
    Rafinesque’s big-eared bat (Corynorhinus rafinesquii) and southeastern myotis (Myotis austroriparius) are listed as species of concern in Mississippi. They use bottomland hardwood forests for roosting habitat; however, much of these forests in Mississippi have been lost or degraded. I seek to characterize availability and evaluate use of diurnal tree roosts for these presumably rare bats. Approximately 1,250 ha of bottomland hardwood forest on Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge were surveyed. I measured characteristics of 622 cavity trees. Analyses revealed that these bats most often used cavities of large diameter trees (≥70 cm DBH). Rafinesque’s big-eared bat and southeastern myotis roosted commonly in baldcypress (Taxodium distichum), black tupelo (Nyssa sylvatica), and American sycamore (Platanus occidentalis). This research will be used to provide guidance for management plans to conserve these bats and their habitat.
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    Institutional convergence and the diffusion of university-versus firm-origin technologies

    Institutional convergence and the diffusion of university-versus firm-origin technologies

    • Institution: Stanford University
    • Degree: Doctorate
    Recent research on innovation and entrepreneurship has emphasized inter‐organizational knowledge flows and has offered special attention to the role of universities in these knowledge networks. But, most studies have neither measured actual knowledge flows, instead relying on patents and/or alliances to serve as proxies, nor provided adequate theoretical justifications or empirical evidence for how and why knowledge diffusion processes of universities might differ from those of firms. To address these issues, I compare diffusion mechanisms and patterns for select university‐ versus firm‐origin technologies in biotechnology and digital audio. I draw upon a database that I constructed of more than 10,000 publications and patents, along with 220 interviews and several hundred pages of archival materials. The results highlight the central role of inter‐personal – over inter‐organizational – networks in enabling the diffusion of knowledge and in shaping how individual researchers in each organizational context respond to the competing demands of public science and private science.
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    Perceptual Display Hierarchies for Visualization

    The advent of computers with high processing power has led to the generation of large, multidimensional collections of data with increasing size and dimensionality . This has led to a critical need for ways to manage, explore and analyze large, multidimensional information spaces. Visualization lends itself well to the challenge of exploring and analyzing these datasets by managing and presenting information in a visual form to facilitate rapid, effective, and meaningful analysis of data by harnessing the strengths of the human visual system. Most visualization techniques are based on the assumption that the display device has sufficient resolution, and that our visual acuity is adequate for completing the analysis tasks. However, this may not be true, particularly for specialized display devices (e.g., PDAs or large-format projection walls). Our goal is to: (1)?determine the amount of information a particular display environment can encode; (2)?design visualizations that maximize the information they represent relative to this upper-limit; and (3)?dynamically update a visualization when the display environment changes to continue to maintain high levels of information content. A collection of controlled psychophysical experiments were designed, executed, and analyzed to identify thresholds for display resolution and visual acuity for four visual features: hue, luminance, size, and orientation...
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    Incorporating Satellite Imagery Into Analyses of Avian Distribution Patterns Across Forested Landscapes

    • Institution: Michigan State University
    • Degree: Doctorate

    While numerous studies have documented the relationships among bird communities and gradients of vegetation structure and composition, there is still little information regarding specific fine scale habitat associations of bird species over large areas of managed forests. Furthermore, the utility of satellite imagery for identifying influential factors on bird species occurrences and richness is rarely considered during field data collection. As part of a multidisciplinary partnership, I investigated landscape patterns of bird species occurrences and richness over a ∼400,000 ha forested region of Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Small sampling plots comparable in size to pixels of Landsat 7 ETM+ imagery (30 meter radius, n = 433) were surveyed for birds, vegetation and land cover. Bird data were also collected using 50m, 100m and unlimited distance thresholds. Landsat 7 ETM+ imagery was used to investigate spectral relationships among the data.

    Several vegetation variables describing northern hardwood stands had significant independent contributions to the occurrences of 4 bird species. Some variables had both positive and negative relationships, indicating that horizontal and vertical diversity within northern hardwood stands need to be an important consideration during forest management activities. In contrast, bird species richness across the study region was highest when small areas contained large proportions of the same land cover types that dominated their surroundings. This relationship was detected through a spatially variable association between bird species richness, the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) and land cover types. Avian species richness estimates varied spatially in relation to NDVI and the proportion of non-deciduous land cover pixels surrounding each plot influenced the relationship. However, NDVI values were positively dependent on the proportion of deciduous forest within them. Species richness was therefore highest in deciduous forests within regions dominated by deciduous forest and the relationship was reversed in regions dominated by non-deciduous forest.I also investigated the potential of using unclassified spectral information for predicting the distribution of three bird species. Accuracy statistics for each species were affected in different ways by the detection thresholds of point count surveys used to stratify plots into presence and absence classes and window sizes used in spectral signature development. Comparisons with rule-based maps created using the approach of Gap Analysis showed that spectral information predicted the occurrences of the investigated species better than could be done using known land cover associations.

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    Algorithms for Aligning and Clustering Genomic Sequences that Contain Duplications

    • Institution: Pennsylvania State University
    Genomes of advanced organisms contain numerous repeated sequences, including gene clusters, tandem repeats, interspersed repeats, and segmental duplications. Among these, gene clusters are the class most frequently of functional importance. algorithmic processing of regions containing these clusters remains challenging in practice, and its lack of clean solutions has been a big obstacle in sequence analysis in bioinformatics. This thesis includes new methodologies for solving two sets of problems in processing the sequences of gene-cluster regions, particularly methods to properly align gene-cluster regions of multiple species.Similar sequences sharing the same evolutionary origin are homologous. homologous sequences that differ by speciation are orthologous. One set of problems deals with aligning all and only orthologous sequences in a gene-cluster region, between two or more species. A two-way orthologous-sequence identification tool is developed to produce orthologous pairwise alignments. The results are evaluated based on the phylogenetic inference of gene sequences. High specificity is achieved without much loss of sensitivity. Two approaches are designed to create orthologous multi-species alignments. One uses a chosen species to guide the alignment process, and it has been successfully applied genome-wide. The other solves a more di�cult formulation of the problem, where all species are treated equally. Its computational dificulty is discussed, and some initial experiments are reported.Another set of methods deals with the construction of all homologous groups within a single genome. Each homologous group is expected to contain precisely the genomic intervals that are homologous to each other. A mixture of algorithmic and heuristic procedures is designed to maintain a balance between the completeness and purity of each group. We verify the accuracy and e�ciency of these methodologies.
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