The following text appears as the Acknowledgements section of my thesis, and I reproduce it here to thank, once again, everyone that supported me the most throughout my studies:
I am deeply grateful to Steve Easterbrook for giving me the conﬁdence to explore my research interests and the guidance to avoid getting lost in my exploration. Steve was a fabulous advisor: sharp, cheery, perceptive, and mindful of the things that truly matter. Greg Wilson’s selﬂess perseverance and attention to my work consistently found pearls among my heaps of data, and he threw enough research questions my way to keep me busy the rest of my life. Furthermore, without Greg’s assistance I could never have had so many organizations willingly opening their doors to me. Bonnie Ericksson, Khai Truong, and Eric Yu gave me great advice and a welcome diversity of perspectives. Jim Herbsleb graciously agreed to be my external examiner, and his feedback in the ﬁnal stages of my degree was invaluable. Dana Damian, Peggy Storey, Janice Singer, and Marsha Chechik also supported me at several points throughout my studies.
My colleagues at the lab ensured I was constantly engaged and entertained along the way. In particular, I can’t thank Jon Pipitone’s exceptional friendship enough. Among many other things, Jon gave me thoughtful and detailed feedback on this thesis, a careful and patient ear, gentle help in ﬁnding my balance, and an appreciation for a life well lived. Mehrdad Sabetzadeh, Nan Niu, Rick Salay, and Anya Taﬂiovich were also frank, warm, and open in their advice. Jono Lung was always caring, hilarious, and full of surprises. Neil Ernst, Jennifer Horkoff, and Markus Strohmaier were insightful research partners. I thank all of them, and Yoni Amir, Jeremy Handcock, Alecia Fowler, Abayomi King, Alicia Grubb, Michalis Famelis, Sotirios Liaskos, Jason Montojo, Carolyn MacLeod, Golnaz Elahi, Jocelyn Simmonds, and Hesam Chiniforooshan for their encouragement and friendship.
I am very grateful to Gina Venolia for mentoring me at Microsoft Research, and to Rob deLine, Andy Begel, Medha Umarji, Libby Hemphill, and Paula Bach for their lively discussions and constructive feedback. I am indebted to Marin Litoiu and Ramzan Khuwaja for their assistance and collaboration during my time at IBM’s Center for Advanced Studies. I would also like to acknowledge the hundreds of participants who obligingly and patiently gave me their time in all of my case studies.
Outside of the lab, plenty of people kept me sane and happy in Toronto. Among many
others, I thank Manuel Berlanga, Juan Manuel Gonzalez, Laura Aguilar, Erick Martinez, Fernanda Rojas, John Martin, Viviana Varela, Alex Sanchez, and Lenka Branichova, as well as Gadi Naot, Jackie Cheung, and everybody at the Hart House Boardgaming Group, and the folks at the Hot Yam for the delicious meals. From my lap, Mushi the Cat closely supervised the writing of many paragraphs of this thesis. From afar, Tajbilab Charnichart, Saul Lopez, Hugo Charles, Lalo Vazquez Vela, and Pancho Gutierrez supported me through every step of the way.
Despite the geographical distance, my family was always nearby. My father made sure I felt his conﬁdence and encouragement, and his advice was consistently timely and useful. Pam decided to visit on a whim, and as a result she was responsible for my best Summer in Toronto, while Leo and Joey were repeatedly wonderful hosts in New York. My mother, though no longer with us, remains the compass of my life.
Five and a half years ago, Val and I decided that I would enroll in the Ph.D. program, and throughout this time I always knew this project belonged to us both. My shadow and my light, she encouraged, supported, understood, and loved me at every moment, and I am intellectually indebted to her ideas and our conversations. None of this could have happened without Val. This thesis is dedicated to her.