Digital Repository at the University of Maryland

    Health care workers wanted; Minority, disadvantaged students shown possible careers

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    Carmilla Black wants to be a pediatric nurse, and that's good news for a city looking for minority health care workers. She likes medicine and children and thinks the career would be a good fit for her personality. The Rufus King High School senior is not sure if she'll attend college in Wisconsin, Tennessee or Minnesota, but she definitely knows that she'll work somewhere in the Milwaukee area once she completes her schooling. To ensure that Black and other graduates with similar interests don't change their minds, local health care professionals are bumping up their minority recruitment efforts to keep students interested in health-related fields and, more importantly, to keep them in Milwaukee

    (Musical) Sales Pitches from the "Salesman of Americanism:" The Comic Operas of John Philip Sousa

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    When Americans hear the name John Phillip Sousa, they likely equate him with brass band music and the Fourth of July holiday. Neither theatre scholars nor audiences generally link Sousa with musical theatre; however Sousa saw nine of his comic operas and one musical comedy produced between 1879 and 1913. This dissertation is primarily a work of musical theatre history; however, it argues that Sousa's comic operas were constructed to play a role in how American identity was manufactured and disseminated at the turn of the twentieth-century by reflecting new definitions of the "American" from the stage and circulating these new definitions nationally and internationally. Sousa constructed himself into an American cultural icon, a "Salesman of Americanism," during an era renegotiating national identity. His works, therefore, carry the weight of his iconic stature, casting their messages as an `American' point of view. In addition to a comprehensive discussion of each operetta's form and production history, I argue that Sousa's comic operas can be cast as cultural ambassadors for social and political ideas; as musical theatre works attempting to re-define American identity in the eyes of audiences on both sides of the Atlantic. While situating Sousa's comic operas within the framework of musical theatre history, I argue that these cultural ambassadors were powerful agents advocating political and social change, intervening in the major social debates of the period, specifically in dialogues on race, foreign policy, copyright, labor, and suffrage. Because of his status as a great `American,' and as a musical theatre composer rivaling Victor Herbert and George M. Cohan, the use of Sousa's operettas to sell ideology taught those watching that propaganda could be effectively integrated into musical theatre offerings. The musical theatre production - particularly on tour - served as one of the first forms of mass popular entertainment that could be used for political and social advantage. Sousa's comic operas, therefore, were a small part of the redefinition of the American musical, pushing its form toward integration, and shifting it from diversion and spectacle to ideological tool

    Tuning Parallel Applications in Parallel

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    Auto-tuning has recently received significant attention from the High Performance Computing community. Most auto-tuning approaches are specialized to work either on specific domains such as dense linear algebra and stencil computations, or only at certain stages of program execution such as compile time and runtime. Real scientific applications, however, demand a cohesive environment that can efficiently provide auto-tuning solutions at all stages of application development and deployment. Towards that end, we describe a unified end-to-end approach to auto-tuning scientific applications. Our system, Active Harmony, takes a search-based collaborative approach to auto-tuning. Application programmers, library writers and compilers collaborate to describe and export a set of performance related tunable parameters to the Active Harmony system. These parameters define a tuning search-space. The auto-tuner monitors the program performance and suggests adaptation decisions. The decisions are made by a central controller using a parallel search algorithm. The algorithm leverages parallel architectures to search across a set of optimization parameter values. Different nodes of a parallel system evaluate different configurations at each timestep. Active Harmony supports runtime adaptive code-generation and tuning for parameters that require new code (e.g. unroll factors). Effectively, we merge traditional feedback directed optimization and just-in-time compilation. This feature also enables application developers to write applications once and have the auto-tuner adjust the application behavior automatically when run on new systems. We evaluated our system on multiple large-scale parallel applications and showed that our system can improve the execution time by up to 46% compared to the original version of the program. Finally, we believe that the success of any auto-tuning research depends on how effectively application developers, domain-experts and auto-tuners communicate and work together. To that end, we have developed and released a simple and extensible language that standardizes the parameter space representation. Using this language, developers and researchers can collaborate to export tunable parameters to the tuning frameworks. Relationships (e.g. ordering, dependencies, constraints, ranking) between tunable parameters and search-hints can also be expressed

    The Production and Fate of Fats, Oils, and Grease (FOG) from Small Dairy-Based Food Service Establishments

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    Grease accumulation in sewers is the leading cause of sewer blockages resulting in Sanitary Sewer Overflows. Nationwide Fats, Oils, and Grease (FOG) control programs exist to address this problem, but the guidelines with respect to wastewater from dairy-based food service establishments (FSEs) are unclear, with no existing scientific investigation on potential separation of dairy products. The separation tendencies of wastewater originating from dairy-based FSEs were investigated, and significant separation of dairy constituents (Kjeldahl Nitrogen and fats) was observed under acidic conditions (pH 4-5.4), with maximum separation at the isoelectric point of casein proteins (pH = 4.6). Physical treatment at field-scale grease interceptors for dairy-based FSEs showed accumulation of dairy constituents, particularly fats, at pH 4.4-5 caused by dairy products souring. Separation induced by souring in neutralized pH persisted but to a lesser extent (10% vs. 2%). Based on research conducted, physical treatment of wastewaters originating from dairy-based FSEs is recommended

    A Comparison of Two Strategies for Teaching Third Graders to Summarize Information Texts

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    Summarizing text is one of the most effective comprehension strategies (National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, 2000) and an effective way to learn from information text (Dole, Duffy, Roehler, & Pearson, 1991; Pressley & Woloshyn, 1995). In addition, much research supports the explicit instruction of such strategies as critical to developing skilled readers (Baker, 1984, Duke, 2000; Hare & Borchardt, 1984, Pressley, Mc Donald, et al. 2000; Williams et al., 2005). Despite such evidence, relatively few studies focus on summarization and even less research has been conducted with young children and information texts. This study investigated the effects of two approaches to teaching third-grade students how to summarize information text. Cue Word Summarization (CWS) and a modified version of Cunningham's (1982) Generating Interactions between Schemata and Text (GIST) were the two approaches designed to help students read multi-paragraph informational text and select information using a procedure to guide their composition of a written summary. Third-grade students in intact classrooms randomly assigned to the instructional treatment conditions (CWS or GIST) or a comparison group were pre-tested on their ability to compose written summaries of information text. After explicit strategy instruction in the treatment classrooms and observations of regular instruction in the comparison classroom, students took a post-test to evaluate their summary writing of information text. Performance on three aspects of summary writing was first analyzed using multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) to control for experiment-wise error, followed by an analysis of variance (ANOVA) for each of the three dependent variables: textbook information, vocabulary, and organization. For each analysis, group was a between-subjects measure and time was a within-subjects measure. Participants in the treatment conditions had statistically significantly higher scores on all three aspects of the summary writing measure than students in the comparison classroom. This research indicates that explicit instruction in summary writing can be successful with primary-grade students

    Decisions under Uncertainty in Decentralized Online Markets: Empirical Studies of Peer-to-Peer Lending and Outsourcing

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    Recent developments in information technologies, especially Web 2.0 technologies, have radically transformed many markets through disintermediation and decentralization. Lower barriers of entry in these markets enable small firms and individuals to engage in transactions that were otherwise impossible. Yet, the issues of informational asymmetry that plague traditional markets still arise, only to be exacerbated by the "virtual" nature of these marketplaces. The three essays of my dissertation empirically examine how participants, many of whom are entrepreneurs, tackle the issue of asymmetric information to derive benefits from trade in two different contexts. In Essay 1, I investigate the role of online social networks in mitigating information asymmetry in an online peer-to-peer lending market, and find that the relational dimensions of these networks are especially effective for this purpose. In Essay 2, I exploit a natural experiment in the same marketplace to study the effect of shared geographical ties on investor decisions, and find that "home bias" is not only robust but also has an interesting interaction pattern with rational decision criteria. In Essay 3, I study how the emergence of new contract forms, enabled by new monitoring technologies, changes the effectiveness of traditional signals that affect a buyers' choice of sellers in online outsourcing. Using a matched-sample approach, I show that the effectiveness of online ratings and certifications differs under pay-for-time contracts versus pay-for-deliverable contracts. In all, the three essays of my dissertation present new empirical evidence of how agents leverage various network ties, signals and incentives to facilitate transactions in decentralized online markets, form transactional ties, and reap the benefits enabled by the transformative power of information technologies


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    Optical trapping forces are dependent upon the difference between the trap wavelength and the extinction (scattering plus absorption) resonances of a trapped particle. This leads to a wavelength-dependent trapping force, which should allow for the optimization of optical tweezers systems, simply by choosing the best trapping wavelength for a given experiment. Although optical forces due to a near-resonant laser beam have been extensively studied for atoms, the situation for larger particles has not been explored experimentally. The ability to selectively trap certain particles with a given extinction peak may have many practical applications. Here, resonance-based trapping is investigated using nanoshells, particles with a dielectric core and metallic coating that exhibit tunable plasmon resonances, and with silica and polystyrene beads. A measure of the trap strength was realized for single particles trapped in three dimensions, and near-resonant trapping was investigated by measuring the trap strength as a function of trap wavelength. Since the resulting trapping is highly temperature dependent, this necessitated temperature measurements of single optically trapped particles. To make these measurements a new optical tweezer apparatus was designed and constructed; the apparatus has wavelength tunability and was used to study these resonance effects. Optical trap stiffness, which is analogous to the spring constant of a stable trap, is measured for trapped particles that exhibit either single or multiple extinction resonances. The applications of this apparatus are not limited to force spectroscopy. Other measurement systems and techniques could be easily implemented into the custom-built apparatus, allowing for the measurement of various properties of single optically trapped particles as a function of wavelength

    Art Images and Multilingual Social Tagging: A Museum without Borders

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    The use of social tagging for crowd-sourcing the annotation of images in online collections of art is in a nascent stage, but it has the potential to bridge language borders and reach wider audiences. How much do different language communities agree with each other when tagging images of art? This exploratory quantitative study is based on a collection of 24 digital images for which tags in Spanish and English were collected. The results show that when adding a second language for tagging images of art, the proportion of agreement among taggers does not seem to change significantly with respect to only one language

    Teach for Knowledge, Mentor for Success: Preparing Students to Enter the Workforce

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    This work has been presented as a 20 minute session at the International Conference on Technology-Enhanced Learning (ICTEL) in July 2011 ( In addition, a paper has been published in the conference proceedings titled "Proceedings of INNOV 2011 - Second International Conference on Innovative Developments in ICT."The future well-being of any society arguably depends on the full knowledge potential students are able to transfer from academia to the workplace upon graduation. There are different mechanisms to transfer this knowledge, and at the University of Maryland, efforts are concentrated on establishing honors programs. These programs prepare students for the acquisition of lifelong skills such as research skills, team work and leadership skills by using emerging technologies in teaching and mentoring students through their course of study. The Gemstone program is one of the five honors programs on campus and its goal is “to give our students transferable skills that will be valuable for wherever life leads them.” This paper presents how campus collaboration may help with building the foundation of this academic knowledge and with transferring it later to the workplace

    Beyond orientability and compactness: new results on the dynamics of flat surfaces

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    In the first part, we prove the non-uniform hyperbolicity of the Kontsevich-Zorich cocycle for a measure supported on abelian differentials which come from non-orientable quadratic differentials. The proof uses Forni's criterion for non-uniform hyperbolicity of the cocycle for SL(2;R)-invariant measures. We apply these results to the study of deviations in homology of typical leaves of the vertical and horizontal (non-orientable) foliations and deviations of ergodic averages. In the second part, we prove an ergodic theorem for flat surfaces of finite area whose Teichmuller orbits are recurrent to a compact set of SL(2;R)/SL(S), where SL(S) is the Veech group of the surface. In this setting, this means that the translation flow on a flat surface can be renormalized through its Veech group. This result applies in particular to flat surfaces of infinite genus and finite area, and we apply our result to existing surfaces in the literature to prove that the corresponding foliations of the surface corresponding to a periodic or recurrent Teichmuller orbit are ergodic
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