my wife, Kyung, and my daughters, Christine and Erin for their love, support, and encouragement Acknowledgements This dissertation is the product not only of my own thinking and writing but also hours of conversations with many other people who have attentively helped and supported me during my doctoral studies. I would like to express my deepest gratitude to my supervisor, Dr. K. Suzanne Barber. Without her support, guidance, inspiration, and patience, this project could never have been completed. As well, I would like to thank my committee members, Dr. Ari Arapostathis, Dr. Margarida Jacome, Dr. Peter Stone, and Dr. Elmira Popova. Their comments and suggestion have been most helpful
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