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Singapore Promotes Deep Learning for Student Innovation

As part of the Young Defence Scientists Programme (YDSP) organised by the Defence Science and Technology Agency (DSTA) and DSO National Laboratories (DSO), students worked on several fascinating, real-world problems, including how to apply deep learning algorithms to better enable the deaf community to integrate into society for a more inclusive Singapore and whether gamification can be introduced into marksmanship simulator training to improve effectiveness and engagement.

The YDSP, which was founded in 1992, encourages students’ interest in science and technology and provides them with an immersive learning experience outside the classroom with Singapore’s leading research scientists, software developers, and defence engineers.

The YDSP provides students with the opportunity to learn more about cutting-edge technologies that will have an impact on society, the economy, and defence as they become more digital and dual-use for both commercial and military applications.

DSTA Chief Executive Mervyn Tan says that there has never been a bigger need for military scientists and engineers because the security environment is always changing. Scientists and engineers have made it possible for Singapore to be ready for any problems it may face in the future. Platforms like the YDSP give smart young people a chance to explore their hobbies in technology. They also give Singapore’s future engineers and scientists in the field of defence something to look forward to.

After three years of being held online, this year’s YDSP Congress was held in person and showed off more than 50 new ideas and projects. One of them was a project done by Research@YDSP and DSO that won a Gold award at the Singapore Science and Engineering Fair in 2023.

Their project uses deep learning to not only understand and translate sign language to speech but also to add emotion to machine-generated speech. This automatic speech synthesis from a model of sign language changes how deep learning is used. It also shows how technology can be a force for good since it can be used as a tool for conversation to help hearing and deaf people understand each other better and make Singapore a more welcoming place for everyone.

Mirdhini Shri Rajaram and Ong Yu Xi, two students who worked on this project, will be representing Singapore at the International Science and Engineering Fair, which is the biggest pre-college STEM competition in the world.

In addition, Adele Lim and Chin Jen Bin, two DSTA students, worked on another Research@YDSP project to see how the Singapore Army’s Individual Marksmanship Trainer (IMT) model could be made more like a game. Using the Design Innovation method, the students looked at how gamification could be used to improve the training in terms of skill and safety while also making it more fun for the trainees.

Students have always been interested in defence science and technology, in addition to being very interested in study. Because of this, YDSP was the best of both worlds. Students learned about design innovation and how to study better. They are also learned to be flexible and open-minded. Seeing how DSTA protects Singapore from the inside has also made me more interested in this field.

At the YDSP Congress, 30 YDSP Scholarships and 35 DSTA Junior College Scholarships were given to students who had done well in school and in other activities while 400 students, parents, principals, teachers, and people in the defence technology industry went to Congress.


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