UC Research Repository

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The UC Research Repository collects, stores and makes available original research from postgraduate students, researchers and academics based at the University of Canterbury.



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ItemOpen Access
Pre-Trained Language Models Represent Some Geographic Populations Better than Others
(ELRA and ICCL, 2024) Dunn , Jonathan; Adams, Benjamin; Madabushi , Harish Tayyar; Calzolari N; Kan M-Y; Hoste V; Lenci A; Sakti S; Xue N
This paper measures the skew in how well two families of LLMs represent diverse geographic populations. A spatial probing task is used with geo-referenced corpora to measure the degree to which pre-trained language models from the opt and bloom series represent diverse populations around the world. Results show that these models perform much better for some populations than others. In particular, populations across the US and the UK are represented quite well while those in South and Southeast Asia are poorly represented. Analysis shows that both families of models largely share the same skew across populations. At the same time, this skew cannot be fully explained by sociolinguistic factors, economic factors, or geographic factors. The basic conclusion from this analysis is that pre-trained models do not equally represent the world’s population: there is a strong skew towards specific geographic populations. This finding challenges the idea that a single model can be used for all populations.
ItemOpen Access
Sustainable practices in education : Virtual Labs
(ASCILITE Publications, 2023) Sharifkhani , Maryam; Davidson, Jonathan; MacCallum , Kathryn; Evans-Freeman , Jan; Brown , Cheryl; Bullsmith , Chris; Richards , Brodwyne; Cochrane T; Narayan V; Brown C; MacCallum K; Bone E; Deneen C; Vanderburg R; Hurren B
The adoption of Virtual Labs (VLs) as a pedagogical tool in higher education is rapidly increasing, especially with the recent shift towards remote learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. VLs offer a digital alternative to traditional laboratory settings, employing computer graphics, simulations, and interactive models to create immersive and interactive learning experiences. While the pedagogical benefits of VLs are well-established, their potential contribution to sustainability within Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) remains ambiguous. This paper aims to address this ambiguity by conducting a literature review to examine the sustainability implications of adopting VLs in HEIs. This literature review reveals that VLs have the potential to enhance sustainability in HEIs across multiple dimensions. However, the literature highlights challenges and limitations associated with implementing VLs despite the positive indications. These include issues related to usability, technical challenges, and the potential costs associated with the adoption of VLs. This literature review suggests the need for further research on the adoption of VLs in HEIs, specifically in relation to achieving the SDGs. It emphasises the importance of considering pedagogical aspects and implementing innovative teaching practices to maximise the long-term effectiveness of VLs. By shedding light on the intersection of VLs and sustainability in HEIs, this research contributes to a broader understanding of how adoption of VLs, can foster a stronger connection between people, the environment, and pedagogy, creating the way for a more sustainable and inclusive future of education.
ItemOpen Access
Modeling SO2 dispersion from future eruptions in the Auckland Volcanic Field, New Zealand
(Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2024) Brody-Heine , Siena; Katurji, Marwan; Stewart, Carol; Wilson , Thomas; Smid , Elaine R.; Trancoso , Rosa
Auckland city (pop. 1.7 M) is Aotearoa New Zealand’s largest city and an important economic hub. The city is built upon the active intraplate basaltic Auckland Volcanic Field (AVF). An AVF eruption would cause considerable impacts. An important component of volcanic risk management is assessing the likely volcanic hazards to help inform emergency planning and other preparedness activities. Previous volcanic hazard assessments for the AVF, particularly those for emergency planning scenarios, have modeled multiple volcanic hazards including lava flows, pyroclastic density currents, ballistic projectiles and tephra fall. Despite volcanic gas being an important and impactful hazard from intraplate basaltic field eruptions, there has been limited consideration of volcanic gas in AVF hazard assessment to date. This project is one of the first to quantitatively assess potential volcanic gas hazards for an explosive eruption scenario. For basaltic volcanism, sulfur dioxide (SO2) gas is typically the most consequential volcanic gas emitted. The aim of this exploratory study was to model SO2 dispersion from a high impact eruption during weather conditions conducive to high ground level pollutant concentrations. Since ground level SO2 concentrations are influenced by complex wind patterns resulting from interactions of locally driven flow circulations and topographically influenced weather, we modeled SO2 dispersion using the HYSPLIT model, a state-of-the art hybrid Eulerian and Lagrangian dispersion model widely used for volcanic gases, using high-resolution meteorological forcing fields given by the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model. Modeled air parcel trajectories and ground level SO2 concentrations illustrate the effect of the converging sea breeze winds on SO2 dispersion. Under worst-case dispersion conditions, extensive areas of up to hundreds of square kilometers to the north and northwest of the eruption location would exceed New Zealand short-term (24 h) air quality standards and guidelines for SO2, indicating heightened health risks to downwind communities. Using this numerical modeling approach, this work presents a methodology for future applications to other AVF eruption scenarios, with a wider range of meteorological conditions that can help in exploring consequences for health services such as anticipated emergency department respiratory admissions.
ItemOpen Access
Climate-change impacts exacerbate conservation threats in island systems: New Zealand as a case study
(Wiley, 2021) Macinnis-Ng , Cate; McIntosh, Angus; Monks , Joanne M.; Waipara , Nick; White , Richard S.A.; Boudjelas , Souad; Clark , Charlie D.; Clearwater , Michael J.; Curran , Timothy J.; Dickinson, Katharine J.M.; Nelson , Nicola; Perry , George L.W.; Richardson , Sarah J.; Stanley, Margaret C.; Peltzer , Duane A.
Rapid advances in eradicating invasive species from islands are improving conservation outcomes in these biodiversity hotspots. However, recent conservation gains could be reversed not only by future invasions from non-native species but also by future extinctions of native taxa, both of which may be facilitated by – or exacerbated by interactions among drivers of – global environmental change. We highlight relevant knowledge gaps that must be filled to reduce uncertainty about the ecological effects of future climate change. We use Aotearoa New Zealand as a case study of island ecosystems to demonstrate that in addition to sea-level rise, most ecologically meaningful impacts of climate change on biodiversity responses are indirect and due to exacerbation of existing threats, including the impact of invasive species as well as the loss and fragmentation of habitat. We identify key topics where progress is needed to future-proof conservation management for island ecosystems susceptible to the direct and indirect effects of climate change.
ItemOpen Access
Puna reo rua: Bilingual education in Aotearoa New Zealand
(University of Canterbury, 2024) Jones, Kay-Lee
bilingual education in Aotearoa. It includes early childhood and primary school programmes where there is 51%- 80% te reo Māori teacher instruction. Puna Reo Rua programmes make a significant contribution to Māori language revitalisation. Puna Reo Rua are somewhat unknown Māori educational settings in Aotearoa. Their culturally sustaining characteristics remain enigmatic to many educationalists, policy makers and others due to limited research in this area (Hill, 2017). Puna Reo Rua imbue cultural nuances, teach in and through te reo Māori and embed mātauranga Māori; they potentially provide a good blueprint for supporting culturally responsive teaching in the English medium system (Jones, 2015).