February 21, 2024

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The Hong Kong Computer Emergency Response Team Coordination Centre (HKCERT) convened a briefing session, where they encapsulated the information security landscape in Hong Kong for 2023 while also unveiling projections for 2024. As technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) continue to proliferate, they offer immense benefits to businesses. However, this advancement is accompanied by a surge in cyber-attacks, underscoring the need for heightened vigilance. Organisations and individuals must not underestimate the complexity of modern cyber threats but instead strive to bolster their understanding of cybersecurity and fortify their response capabilities.

Throughout 2023, HKCERT grappled with a total of 7,752 security incidents. Notably, phishing emerged as a dominant threat, constituting nearly half of all cases (3,752 instances, 48%), marking a significant double-digit increase from the previous year. The surge in phishing attacks underscores a pressing concern, with the number of related links exceeding 19,000—a double-digit annual escalation reflecting a worrying trend over four years. Predominantly, phishing activities targeted sectors like banking, finance, electronic payments, and e-commerce.

Mr Alex Chan, General Manager of the Digital Transformation Division at the Hong Kong Productivity Council and spokesperson for HKCERT emphasised the alarming pace at which hackers leverage AI to outstrip cybersecurity measures. He highlighted the proliferation of generative AI tools, significantly amplifying phishing scams’ prevalence.

These sophisticated techniques blur the line between authentic and fabricated content, posing challenges for both organisations and individual users. As the threat landscape evolves, the adoption of robust security protocols aligned with international standards becomes imperative.

Further insights were provided by Mr. Frankie Wong, Vice Chairman of the Professional Information Security Association and representative of the HKCERT Critical Infrastructure Cyber Security Watch Programme. He delved into the analysis of LockBit ransomware and underscored the importance of proactive measures against ransomware attacks, stressing the need for comprehensive network security reviews and prompt mitigation strategies.

Looking ahead to 2024, HKCERT outlined five key information security risks demanding attention:

  1. Weaponisation of AI: Hackers harness generative AI to orchestrate sophisticated cyber-attacks, manipulating AI-generated disinformation to circumvent conventional security measures.
  2. Next-Level Phishing Attacks: Phishing techniques evolve to include fake videos, social media impersonations, and SEO-driven phishing websites, expanding the scope of deception and victimisation.
  3. The trend towards Organised Cybercrime: Ransomware attacks and malicious app threats underscore a global trend towards organised cybercrime, necessitating proactive security measures.
  4. Attacks Arising from Smart Devices: The proliferation of smart devices amplifies cyber vulnerability, with varying security standards rendering them susceptible to intrusion and manipulation.
  5. Third-party Risk: Reliance on third-party IT services heightens the risk of supply chain attacks and insider threats, necessitating robust verification mechanisms.

In response, Mr Chan called for heightened awareness across all sectors, stressing the importance of understanding and mitigating AI-related cybersecurity risks. He urged vigilance against emerging phishing tactics and emphasised the severity of cybercriminal activities.

HKCERT pledged to bolster public awareness and cybersecurity measures through incident response strategies, proactive vulnerability analysis, and collaboration with international counterparts. Efforts will also include public education initiatives like Cyber Security Week and interactive campaigns to reinforce cybersecurity consciousness.

HKCERT’s proactive stance underscores the urgency of collective action to combat evolving cyber threats, emphasising the critical role of public awareness and collaborative cybersecurity efforts in safeguarding Hong Kong’s digital ecosystem.

OpenGov Asia reported that the Office of the Government Chief Information Officer (OGCIO) has unveiled a comprehensive set of measures to strengthen the management of large-scale and high-risk information technology (IT) projects within government entities. These are in alignment with the evolving cybersecurity landscape highlighted by HKCERT’s briefing session. The OGCIO introduced initiatives spanning project initiation to stress testing to ensure public trust and smooth IT system operations, aiming to bolster accountability, transparency, and efficiency in managing government IT projects and safeguarding Hong Kong’s digital ecosystem

In a significant stride toward combating tuberculosis (TB) in remote areas of the Cordillera region, the Department of Health regional office (DOH-CAR) has received a cutting-edge mobile tuberculosis clinic. Donated by the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) through its ACCESS (Advance Client-Centered Care and Expanding Sustainable Service) for the TB Project, this mobile van brings state-of-the-art technology to the forefront of TB detection.

Image credits: CCD/PIA CAR

The latest addition to the region’s healthcare arsenal harnesses artificial intelligence (AI) to screen possible TB cases efficiently. During the turnover ceremony at the Baguio Convention and Cultural Center, PBSP Programme Director Arnyl Araneta emphasised the urgent need for early TB detection and treatment in the Philippines, which ranks fourth globally in TB-related deaths. With this advanced mobile clinic, PBSP aims to extend support not only in Cordillera but also across the country.

DOH-CAR Director Dr. Amelita Pangilinan expressed confidence in the mobile TB clinic’s ability to fulfil its purpose, bringing essential services closer to the people. Powered by AI technology, the clinic is equipped to detect TB and other respiratory conditions swiftly. Dr. Pangilinan assured the community of DOH-CHD-CAR’s commitment to maximising the van’s potential and ensuring comprehensive TB services throughout the region.

Despite challenges exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, access issues, and limited resources at the local government level, TB screening remains a top priority in Cordillera. Dr Jennifer Joyce Pira, DOH-CAR disease prevention and control cluster head, emphasised the critical role of screening in TB eradication efforts. As the region embraces this innovative approach to healthcare, early detection facilitated by AI technology promises to significantly impact TB prevention and treatment outcomes.

A major collaboration between the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the National TB Control Programme of the Department of Health (DOH) has introduced an advanced Artificial Intelligence-assisted (AI) Computer Aided Detection (CAD) technology to revolutionise Tuberculosis (TB) diagnosis and prevention efforts in the Philippines.

The initiative, which concluded in July 2023, piloted this innovative technology in Muntinlupa in partnership with the local government and Putatan Health Center. The results were remarkable, with nearly 400 TB suspects identified, out of which 32 cases of Pulmonary TB were confirmed. The utilisation of CAD technology not only expedited the diagnosis process but also facilitated early detection and initiation of treatment, thus potentially saving numerous lives.

This cutting-edge technology represents a significant stride in addressing the persistent challenge of undetected TB cases, particularly in a country where TB incidence ranks the highest globally, resulting in a staggering thousands of deaths annually.

This collaboration underscores JICA’s commitment to introducing innovative solutions and new technologies as part of its Official Development Assistance (ODA) strategy, aimed at addressing critical development challenges and fostering sustainable growth.

The Philippines is harnessing cutting-edge technology to enhance healthcare outcomes and address critical health challenges. By leveraging advanced technologies such as AI, the Philippines aims to expedite diagnosis processes, improve patient outcomes, and strengthen its healthcare infrastructure to provide accessible and quality healthcare services to all its citizens.

In a significant step towards achieving Universal Health Care (UHC) in Pampanga, local leaders and health experts have spearheaded a tech-driven overhaul of the province’s health system. With the inauguration of the “Pampanga United for Streamlining Health towards UHC” initiative, marked by a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) signing ceremony involving 21 mayors and health professionals, the province aims to leverage technology to revolutionise healthcare accessibility and delivery.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire commended the proactive approach of the provincial government, highlighting the pivotal role of technology-enabled primary healthcare in advancing UHC goals and bridging healthcare gaps.

JTC and Enterprise Singapore (EnterpriseSG) have jointly unveiled the Aerospace Open Innovation Challenge (AOIC) 2024 to foster collaboration in innovation between industry players and promising startups and SMEs within the aerospace industry.

AS4 Rendering, Image credit: JTC

As the first-ever aerospace-focused innovation challenge of this scale, AOIC marks a significant industry-wide effort in uniting prominent players, including those in Seletar Aerospace Park, to spearhead the transformation of the industry.

A total of seven global corporates – Airbus, Bell Textron, Collins Aerospace, GE Aerospace, Jet Aviation, Singapore Component Solutions, and ST Engineering – will launch 12 challenge statements in the areas of sustainability, productivity, and digitalisation to crowdsource ideas to address global aerospace challenges (see Annex A). Industry leaders have committed to setting aside more than S$500,000 to support the co-development and piloting of solutions, providing the expertise and resources to nurture promising SMEs and startups in the aerospace field.

Ms Lim Ai Ting, Director for Aerospace & Marine Cluster, JTC, said, “We are taking the first step to facilitate collaboration, bringing together industry players and technology solution providers for a collective push towards a greener aerospace industry. If proven viable, the solutions emerging from AOIC stand to benefit not only the participating corporations but also empower other companies facing similar sustainability challenges, catalysing the transformation of the industry. With industry giants leading by example, this concerted effort has the potential to propel Seletar Aerospace Park beyond its status as a regional hub for aviation and aerospace and position it as a leading force in driving sustainability across the industry.”

“Innovation can deliver outsized impact by accelerating sustainability and operational efficiency for the aerospace industry and adjacent sectors. By matching startups and SMEs with aerospace corporates through AOIC, EnterpriseSG aims to catalyse more of such novel solutions that address industry demands and pain points quickly. Startups and SMEs can leverage such win-win partnerships to build their track record and scale beyond our shores.” said Mr Tan Boon Kim, Executive Director, Innovation Eco-system Development, EnterpriseSG.

The inaugural AOIC was announced by Mr Heng Swee Keat, Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for Economic Policies, during the Singapore Airshow 2024. It is supported by the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB) and key industry partner, the Association of Aerospace Industries (Singapore) (AAIS).

Other sustainability initiatives at Seletar Aerospace Park

JTC also announced plans for JTC aeroSpace Four (AS4), the first standard factory at Seletar Aerospace Park which will include green infrastructure solutions to support sustainability goals (see Annex B). These include EV charging infrastructure, and more green spaces within the development. To further enhance current solarisation efforts, JTC AS4 will also include solar-ready buildings and linkways, contributing to the total energy generated that could power JTC’s industrial developments and common areas at Seletar Aerospace Park.

About JTC

Since its inception in 1968, JTC has played a strategic role in ensuring Singapore stays innovative and dynamic amid global manufacturing trends.

As a government agency under Singapore’s Ministry of Trade and Industry, JTC is paving the way forward for Singapore’s industrial landscape with sustainable, green and smart estate masterplans such as one-north, Seletar Aerospace Park, Jurong Innovation District, and Punggol Digital District. Our estates attract new investment and foster collaborative ecosystems that strengthen Singapore’s position as an advanced manufacturing hub. We also drive innovation in the Built Environment sector by piloting new construction technologies. For more information on JTC, visit http://www.jtc.gov.sg

About Enterprise Singapore

Enterprise Singapore is the government agency championing enterprise development. We work with committed companies to build capabilities, innovate and internationalise.

We also support the growth of Singapore as a hub for global trading and startups, and build trust in Singapore’s products and services through quality and standards.

Visit www.enterprisesg.gov.sg for more information.

Artificial intelligence (AI) has become an indispensable tool in transforming the landscape of media and communication. With its ability to analyse vast amounts of data, identify patterns, and predict outcomes, AI is revolutionising how we consume and interact with information. Researchers at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) have been at the forefront of pioneering advancements in AI, pushing the boundaries of what is possible in media analysis and content creation.

Image credits: Nanyang Technological University

One of the significant breakthroughs in AI research at NTU comes from the School of Computer Science and Engineering (SCSE), where scientists have developed sophisticated algorithms capable of analysing emotions in text with remarkable accuracy. Led by Prof. Erik Cambria, the team’s innovative platform, known as SenticNet, integrates human learning modes with traditional machine learning approaches, enabling it to decipher emotional tones in written words effectively.

Traditional sentiment analysis models often operate as opaque “black boxes,” providing little insight into their internal reasoning process. However, SenticNet’s logical framework offers transparent insights, ensuring reproducibility and reliability of results. By combining commonsense reasoning with machine learning, SenticNet has demonstrated superior performance, outperforming other sentiment analysis models in recent tests.

The implications of SenticNet’s capabilities are profound, particularly in the realm of media monitoring and content moderation. With the sheer volume of social media posts and information available online, AI’s ability to decode emotions from text could be a game-changer, enabling more effective sentiment analysis and the identification of malicious content.

In addition to text analysis, AI is also revolutionising the way we interact with video content. Assoc Prof. Sun Aixin and his team at SCSE have developed an innovative method to make video content searchable by matching keywords with on-screen images. Traditional computer vision techniques often struggle with searching long videos efficiently. However, the team’s algorithm treats videos as text passages, allowing users to search for specific moments within lengthy clips.

This novel approach enables the seamless segmentation of long videos into shorter clips, enhancing searchability and user experience. Assoc Prof. Sun envisions a wide range of applications for this technology, from educational videos to surveillance footage, where efficient content search is crucial.

Despite the transformative potential of AI, it also presents new challenges, particularly in the realm of authenticity verification. As technology advances, so too do the capabilities of those seeking to deceive audiences with fake images and videos. Addressing this issue, Assistant Professor Liu Ziwei and his team at SCSE have developed Seq-DeepFake, an advanced algorithm capable of detecting digital fingerprints left by facial manipulation in images.

Seq-DeepFake goes beyond conventional methods by identifying alterations sequentially, enabling rapid detection of manipulated content. Moreover, the algorithm can reverse the manipulation sequence, restoring the original image and empowering users to verify the authenticity of visual information effectively.

As AI continues to evolve, NTU researchers remain committed to pushing the boundaries of innovation and leveraging technology to address the complex challenges facing the media industry. Through their groundbreaking advancements in emotion analysis, video searchability, and authenticity verification, they are shaping the future of media and communication, paving the way for a more informed, transparent, and trustworthy digital landscape.

NTU stands at the forefront of pioneering cutting-edge technology innovations, exemplified by its breakthroughs in ultrathin, stretchable electronics. Spearheaded by Professor Chen Xiaodong, NTU’s pioneering research in the field marks a significant step forward in technology innovation, with far-reaching implications across industries such as healthcare and agriculture, bolstering Singapore’s position as a global leader in science and technology.

The Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) envisions a promising trajectory for Vietnam’s semiconductor industry, forecasting a valuation of US$20-30 billion by 2030. However, the current landscape reveals a stark reality: only two local firms, FPT and Viettel, have ventured into this domain in its infancy, despite over 50 eligible companies in the country.

Image credits: Vietnam Plus

Policymakers are keenly aware of Vietnam’s potential in the global semiconductor chip map, acknowledging its abundant resources for the industry. However, the national semiconductor ecosystem lacks manufacturing facilities, with only packaging and testing factories established by international giants.

Given these fundamental issues, the road ahead is paved with challenges, including the relevant talent. To secure a significant position in the semiconductor arena, Vietnam must address its shortage of skilled semiconductor integrated circuit (IC) engineers. The MIC emphasises the need for at least 50,000 IC engineers by 2030, a tenfold increase from the current workforce.

Minister of Education and Training Nguyen Kim Son underscores the pivotal role of tertiary institutions in meeting this demand. Currently, 35 universities offer courses related to semiconductor ICs, with plans to enrol over 1,000 students specifically for chip designing next year. Despite ambitious enrollment targets, concerns linger regarding the frequency of engineer training cycles. Nguyen Thien Nghia of the MIC highlights the urgency of training engineers more rapidly to seize opportunities in the semiconductor industry.

Recognising the strategic importance of semiconductor chip development, the Government has prioritised quality human resource strategies and assigned relevant ministries to formulate cohesive development policies. Since 2010, semiconductor chip products have been deemed national strategic products, although substantial investments are yet to materialise. The Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST) is actively engaged in semiconductor chip research, design, and manufacturing initiatives.

Dam Bach Duong, Director of the High Technology Department at MoST, underscores the need for specialised policies to support semiconductor chip manufacturing. Currently, development policies for this industry lack consistency, necessitating collaborative efforts among ministries and sectors to introduce coherent policies.

Despite the inherent challenges, experts believe that Vietnam has a window of opportunity to prepare for the semiconductor industry’s emergence. Global semiconductor leaders, such as the US and Japan, are eager to support Vietnam’s foray into this market. With the Government’s commitment to digital transformation, domestic demand for electronic devices and IoT-connected devices is set to surge.

In line with these ambitions, Vietnam is taking significant strides to bolster its semiconductor industry, with pledges of tax breaks and incentives for companies contributing to sector development. Minister of Science and Technology Huynh Thanh Dat outlined plans for industry grants and joint state-private research collaborations to propel chip manufacturing forward.

While major players eye expansion in Vietnam, the country stands to benefit from investments under the US CHIPS and Science Act, alongside hosting a chip giant’s largest global test and assembly facility.

U.S. Undersecretary of State Jose Fernandez highlighted Vietnam’s appeal to semiconductor companies, contingent on its renewable energy capacity meeting industry demands. Technology transfer agreements with chip sector leaders are vital for Vietnam’s growth trajectory, prompting policy enhancements to attract foreign expertise.

Collaborations between universities and industry giants aim to address skill shortages and prepare 50,000 engineers for the semiconductor industry by 2030.

Fernandez emphasised Vietnam’s importance in the US CHIPS Act subsidies, reflecting confidence in the country’s potential. The subsidy amount, to be determined soon, is poised to accelerate Vietnam’s semiconductor ambitions and solidify its position as a key player in the global electronics supply chain.

By fostering a conducive environment for semiconductor development, Vietnam can leverage its engineering talent to design and manufacture chips for telecommunications products, thereby shaping its future trajectory in the semiconductor landscape.

In Indonesia, the evolution of digital technology, social media platforms, and artificial intelligence (AI) has left a profound mark on the media landscape, reshaping the way news is produced, disseminated, and consumed. These technological advancements have empowered media organisations to enhance their capabilities in data gathering and analysis, facilitating the delivery of more precise and pertinent news content.

Moreover, the widespread adoption of social media platforms has provided a channel for direct interaction with audiences, enabling media outlets to receive immediate feedback, gather valuable insights, and broaden their coverage scope through online platforms.

Image credits: kominfo.go.id

The Minister of Communication and Information Technology Budi Arie Setiadi encouraged the national press industry to see opportunities in global digitalisation by developing innovations. He says innovation is the key to facing rapid changes in the press industry. With digital technology, social media, and artificial intelligence, the press can create more varied and engaging content for readers.

“At present, we can see how technology has changed the way we access and consume news. The press must be adaptive to these changes and continue to develop creative ideas to remain relevant in the digital era,” he said.

“In facing this disruption, I invite all of us not to be afraid; on the contrary, we must see the opportunities brought by digital technology,” he added.

According to Minister Budi Arie, the press industry should see disruption as an opportunity to innovate and develop new information delivery methods. By utilising digital technology, the press can create more interesting and relevant content for readers, thus enhancing its competitiveness in the market.

He also cited World Association of News Publishers data showing that global press industry revenue reached USD 130 billion in 2023. This results from a combination of reporting activities with digital technology, including the growth of digital newspaper circulation.

“The increase in revenue indicates that the press industry has great potential to grow and develop in this digital era. Therefore, we must continue to encourage innovation and collaboration among stakeholders to ensure the sustainability of the press industry,” he added.

By knowing the potential revenue of the press industry due to the utilisation of digital technology, the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology is boosting the spirit of the press to be more innovative in facing technological disruptions. One effort that needs to be increased is the number of subscribers, as this can be a significant source of revenue for the press industry in this digital era.

Further, Deputy Minister Nezar Patria encouraged journalists to adapt more to technological developments. “Wherever technology is a human creation, humans should not be defeated by technology. We must adapt, control, minimise its risks and maximise its benefits,” said Deputy Minister Nezar Patria.

Further, Deputy Minister Nezar Patria also emphasised the importance of a holistic approach in facing technological disruptions. According to him, in addition to developing innovations in content and technology, the press industry also needs to strengthen its integrity, professionalism, and business sustainability.

“In facing the digital era, we should not only focus on technological aspects. We must also pay attention to other aspects such as integrity, professionalism, and business sustainability to ensure that the press industry remains relevant and competitive,” he explained.

Additionally, Deputy Minister Nezar Patria stated that artificial intelligence is currently capable of performing various tasks in the field of journalism. In fact, according to him, the presence of robot journalism or machines can carry out the process of collecting, producing, and distributing news independently. “We are familiar with the term robotic journalism, so all production work, up to the distribution of news, is done by these robotics,” he concluded.

In a landscape increasingly shaped by digital innovation and cyber threats, the Ministry of Digital Affairs (moda) of Taiwan stands at the forefront of advancing cybersecurity technologies and strategies to safeguard its digital ecosystem. Addressing recent media reports, the moda reaffirms its unwavering commitment to enhancing cybersecurity defences and promoting collaboration both domestically and internationally.

Central to Taiwan’s cybersecurity efforts is the National Institute of Cyber Security (NICS), an executive agency supervised by the moda. Led by Minister Audrey Tang, the NICS plays a pivotal role in developing cutting-edge cybersecurity tools and technologies. Contrary to claims of reducing related personnel, the moda emphasises that the NICS has maintained its workforce and continues to actively recruit top talent to bolster its cybersecurity initiatives.

At the heart of the NICS’s mission is the development of innovative technologies for detecting fraudulent activities and analysing suspicious messages. Leveraging AI and deepfake analysis, the NICS works tirelessly to combat online threats and misinformation. Through collaborations with law enforcement agencies and third-party fact-checking organisations like the Taiwan FactCheck Center, the NICS provides critical traceability and consultation services to enhance response capabilities and protect against cyberattacks.

Moreover, the moda underscores its proactive approach to international cooperation in cybersecurity. Through strategic partnerships and collaborative efforts with the United States and other friendly nations, Taiwan seeks to strengthen its cybersecurity defences and promote information sharing on a global scale.

The establishment of the Center of International Collaboration and Cybersecurity Governance further solidifies Taiwan’s commitment to fostering mutual trust and cooperation in cybersecurity initiatives.

In addition to its focus on technological innovation, the moda places great importance on cross-agency collaboration and coordination within Taiwan’s cybersecurity ecosystem. Through the Executive Yuan Cybersecurity Council platform, the moda facilitates cooperation among central government agencies, direct municipalities, and local governments to strengthen the overall cybersecurity environment in the country.

By promoting information sharing and joint defence measures, Taiwan aims to build a resilient cybersecurity infrastructure capable of mitigating emerging threats effectively. Furthermore, the moda is dedicated to enhancing public awareness of cybersecurity issues and promoting transparency in its cybersecurity efforts.

The monthly release of the “Cybersecurity Monthly Report” on the official website provides valuable insights into recent policy highlights, threat trends, and cybersecurity protection recommendations. By fostering a culture of cybersecurity awareness and transparency, the moda seeks to empower individuals and organisations to play an active role in safeguarding Taiwan’s digital landscape.

To complement its proactive stance on cybersecurity, the moda also prioritises capacity building and response readiness across government agencies. Through network attack and defence drills and government cybersecurity patrol seminars, the Administration for Cyber Security (ACS) identifies vulnerabilities and shares best practices to strengthen defence measures and improve incident response capabilities.

Taiwan is steadfast in its dedication to fostering cybersecurity both domestically and internationally, evident through its proactive initiatives and collaborations aimed at bolstering digital defences and promoting global cyber resilience.

OpenGov Reported on the Global Cooperation and Training Framework (GCTF) workshop on cybersecurity in New Delhi which symbolised a significant step forward in international collaboration in the digital realm.

Organised by Taiwan, the United States, and India, the workshop addressed global challenges related to cybersecurity, AI, cybercrime, the digital economy and critical information infrastructure fortification, demonstrating a shared commitment to tackling pressing digital issues.

The Ministry of Digital Affairs of Taiwan remains committed to advancing cybersecurity technologies, fostering international cooperation, and promoting collaboration across sectors. With the NICS leading the charge in technological innovation and the ACS spearheading efforts to enhance response capabilities, Taiwan is well-positioned to navigate the evolving cybersecurity landscape and ensure a safe and secure digital future for its citizens and organisations.

In a major development, scientists have identified a model system of quantum critical points aimed at advancing the comprehension of new materials. This innovative model system promises to shed light on the peculiar behaviours exhibited by materials near quantum critical points, potentially revolutionising our understanding of entanglement and quantum computing.

While traditional frameworks like density functional theory have facilitated the understanding of well-studied materials such as silicon, the complexity of emerging materials like transition metal oxides presents significant challenges.

These materials, including manganates, ruthinates, and iridates, exhibit unique properties and sensitivities to small perturbations, holding immense promise for advanced applications in devices like sensors, GPS, and memory RAM.

Led by Prof. N. S. Vidhyadhiraja from the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR), researchers embarked on a study focused on “local quantum criticality,” a phenomenon observed in certain materials. Their findings, published in Physical Review B were supported by the Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB), an institution under the Department of Science and Technology (DST), now subsumed into ANRF.

Prof. Vidhyadhiraja underscores the significance of their research in quantum many-body physics, emphasising the concept of emergence in condensed matter. He explains, “Similar to the collective behaviour seen in bees, birds, and ants, the behaviour of electrons in materials is dictated not by individual electrons but by their collective interactions. Environmental factors like temperature play a crucial role in determining the final material properties.”

The study delves into vanadium oxide, a material known for its dramatic transition from insulator to metal in response to minute changes in pressure or temperature. Beyond its conductivity shift, vanadium oxide also changes its optical properties, transitioning between opaque and transparent states in reaction to various stimuli.

Specifically, the research focuses on quantum critical metal-insulator transitions occurring at zero kelvin. By analysing a model system known as the “modified periodic Anderson model (MPAM),” researchers identified a distinct energy distribution pattern termed the “soft-gap spectrum.”

This unique phenomenon emerges precisely at the critical point where the material transitions from being a metal to an insulator, offering invaluable insights into quantum criticality.

Prof. Vidhyadhiraja highlights the potential implications of these findings, stating, “Our discoveries pave the way for characterising quantum criticality and deciphering unusual material behaviours near quantum critical points. This study holds promise for unravelling the mysteries of entanglement and potentially advancing quantum computing.”

In line with this recent breakthrough in identifying a model system of quantum critical points to enhance our understanding of new materials, Dr Neeraj Mittal, Secretary of Telecom and Chairman of the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) emphasised the indispensable role of standards in fostering technology adoption and ensuring commercial viability.

This resonates powerfully with the commendable efforts of the Telecommunication Engineering Centre (TEC) in setting standards for Quantum Key Distribution (QKD), underscoring the pivotal contribution of such initiatives in pushing the boundaries of quantum technology.

He commended the commendable efforts of the Telecommunication Engineering Centre (TEC) in establishing standards for Quantum Key Distribution (QKD), recognising the significant impact of such initiatives in advancing quantum technology, exemplified in the development of the new model system of quantum critical points.

India is actively pursuing global leadership in the quantum field, as highlighted during the second meeting of the Indo-French Joint Committee of Science and Technology (JCST). The meeting underscored the effectiveness of collaborative efforts through initiatives like the Indo-French Centre for the Promotion of Advanced Research (CEFIPRA), highlighting its role in fostering partnerships across various domains including Interdisciplinary Cyber-Physical Systems (ICPS), health, clean energy, artificial intelligence (AI), quantum technologies, and advanced materials.


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CTC Global Singapore, a premier end-to-end IT solutions provider, is a fully owned subsidiary of ITOCHU Techno-Solutions Corporation (CTC) and ITOCHU Corporation.

Since 1972, CTC has established itself as one of the country’s top IT solutions providers. With 50 years of experience, headed by an experienced management team and staffed by over 200 qualified IT professionals, we support organizations with integrated IT solutions expertise in Autonomous IT, Cyber Security, Digital Transformation, Enterprise Cloud Infrastructure, Workplace Modernization and Professional Services.

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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.


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