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Dr Janil Puthucheary on the importance of Investments, People and Ideas for Singapore’s Smart Nation vision

Dr Janil Puthucheary on the importance of Investments

The inaugural Supercomputing
Asia 2018
Conference organised by the National Supercomputing Centre (NSCC) Singapore
has a special focus on the intersection of high-performance computing (HPC) and
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the practical applications that come out of
that.

In his
opening address, Dr Janil Puthucheary, Senior Minister of State,
Ministry of Communications and Information, and Ministry of Education talked
about how Singapore is looking to leverage the opportunities provided by HPC
and AI and the role of investments, talent and ideas in realising the potential
of these technologies and achieving Singapore Smart Nation vision.

He described the Smart Nation vision as an idea to be put in
place, while developing underlying infrastructure and capabilities and
imagining the different types of products and services that are going to be
built to take advantage of the digital economy and disruptions that may take
place.

“We fully understand that whatever we are planning for our
Smart Nation journey, we are only able to see the tip of the iceberg of the
future possibilities,” Dr Puthucheary said.

While having the long-term vision is essential, Singapore
needs to start small with whatever it currently has. Then it has to iterate and
go forward, building the type of interoperability and resilience that will
allow growth.

The type of transformation that Singapore is seeking to
undergo today is something that Singapore has undergone several times before in
its past, in many areas, such as marine off-shore, Defence, Independence, Bio-Medical
Initiatives, or in the Finance sector.

But the pace of transformation in today’s digital,
disruptive economy is unprecedented. The requirement for speed brings with it
the need for hefty computing capabilities.

Investments

Singapore has been investing in supercomputers since 1988.
A*STAR (Agency for Science, Technology and Research)’s Institute of High Performance
Computing has been facilitating the development of products and services using
supercomputers for more than two decades.

Dr Puthucheary highlighted that the NSCC has also gone
beyond its role as a service provider to actively engage in multi-party,
multi-stakeholder innovative projects in various institutions. These projects have
generated academic research and economic dividends by providing problem solving
and data analysis solutions that would be otherwise impossible.

“It would have been impossible too, if the early
investments, capabilities and infrastructure were not done with a certain leap
into the unknown, and if we did not have certain faith in the possibilities
that were afforded,” he said.

Those early investments were crucial because each phase of
the developmental journey builds on the success of the previous.

People

Today, Singapore wants to take the opportunities afforded by
High Performance Computing, AI and the Smart Nation vision, and drive these
technologies and opportunities to every corner of the economy and society. It
wants a 100% inclusive society.

In line with this objective, the Government launched AI
Singapore
in May 2017 – a partnership among the Government, research institutions,
AI companies and start-ups – to develop these Artificial Intelligence products,
create tools and develop talent. A strong, deep and long-standing pipeline of
talent is necessary for reaching those desired outcomes.

To fulfil the vision that AI Singapore is part of, Singapore
needs a long, multi-decade horizon of talent development – “Students that are
inspired, academics doing research, the professionals that work alongside them,
and industry development visions”.

Dr Puthucheary talked about the Asia
Pacific HPC-AI competition
at the Conference, which is providing participants
with a platform to showcase their expertise.

Ideas

Dr Puthucheary spoke about one more component required for
Singapore to achieve its vision.

In the absence of natural resources, it is not enough to be
open to investments and people. Singapore also has to be open to the best ideas
in the world and allow these ideas to catalyse and feature in its future.

Singapore has to hold on to these ideas, and make sure that they
are supported institutionally, philosophically, and also from an investment
point-of-view.

“We have started on this journey, but we have a long way to
go with many things we need to do to maximally exploit the opportunities
afforded to us. But I think we are off to a running start, given that we have
been able to do these types of things for many years,” Dr Puthucheary said.

“I am very encouraged by the many people I have been
introduced to so far – the people who have been here from the start (one that I
know of has been here for over 10 years but is still finding ways to attract
PhD students) and people that still have the vision, passion, enthusiasm,
personality for, and the type of personal engagement with these technical
subjects. These are the people that we are going to need as we look forward to growing
this industry, and growing this opportunity for Singapore and for the world at
large.”

PARTNER

Qlik’s vision is a data-literate world, where everyone can use data and analytics to improve decision-making and solve their most challenging problems. A private company, Qlik offers real-time data integration and analytics solutions, powered by Qlik Cloud, to close the gaps between data, insights and action. By transforming data into Active Intelligence, businesses can drive better decisions, improve revenue and profitability, and optimize customer relationships. Qlik serves more than 38,000 active customers in over 100 countries.

PARTNER

As a Titanium Black Partner of Dell Technologies, CTC Global Singapore boasts unparalleled access to resources.

Established in 1972, we bring 52 years of experience to the table, solidifying our position as a leading IT solutions provider in Singapore. With over 300 qualified IT professionals, we are dedicated to delivering integrated solutions that empower your organization in key areas such as Automation & AI, Cyber Security, App Modernization & Data Analytics, Enterprise Cloud Infrastructure, Workplace Modernization and Professional Services.

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PARTNER

Planview has one mission: to build the future of connected work. Our solutions enable organizations to connect the business from ideas to impact, empowering companies to accelerate the achievement of what matters most. Planview’s full spectrum of Portfolio Management and Work Management solutions creates an organizational focus on the strategic outcomes that matter and empowers teams to deliver their best work, no matter how they work. The comprehensive Planview platform and enterprise success model enables customers to deliver innovative, competitive products, services, and customer experiences. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, with locations around the world, Planview has more than 1,300 employees supporting 4,500 customers and 2.6 million users worldwide. For more information, visit www.planview.com.

SUPPORTING ORGANISATION

SIRIM is a premier industrial research and technology organisation in Malaysia, wholly-owned by the Minister​ of Finance Incorporated. With over forty years of experience and expertise, SIRIM is mandated as the machinery for research and technology development, and the national champion of quality. SIRIM has always played a major role in the development of the country’s private sector. By tapping into our expertise and knowledge base, we focus on developing new technologies and improvements in the manufacturing, technology and services sectors. We nurture Small Medium Enterprises (SME) growth with solutions for technology penetration and upgrading, making it an ideal technology partner for SMEs.

PARTNER

HashiCorp provides infrastructure automation software for multi-cloud environments, enabling enterprises to unlock a common cloud operating model to provision, secure, connect, and run any application on any infrastructure. HashiCorp tools allow organizations to deliver applications faster by helping enterprises transition from manual processes and ITIL practices to self-service automation and DevOps practices. 

PARTNER

IBM is a leading global hybrid cloud and AI, and business services provider. We help clients in more than 175 countries capitalize on insights from their data, streamline business processes, reduce costs and gain the competitive edge in their industries. Nearly 3,000 government and corporate entities in critical infrastructure areas such as financial services, telecommunications and healthcare rely on IBM’s hybrid cloud platform and Red Hat OpenShift to affect their digital transformations quickly, efficiently and securely. IBM’s breakthrough innovations in AI, quantum computing, industry-specific cloud solutions and business services deliver open and flexible options to our clients. All of this is backed by IBM’s legendary commitment to trust, transparency, responsibility, inclusivity and service.