August 13, 2020

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Minister for Finance announces S$ 200 million for Singapore’s HPC at Supercomputing Asia 2019

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A four-day conference is currently happening at the Suntec Singapore Convention & Exhibition Centre.

Supercomputing Asia (SCA) 2019 is organised by the National Supercomputing Centre (NSCC) Singapore running from 11 to 14 March 2019.

OpenGov Asia covered the annual conference, which encompasses an umbrella of notable supercomputing and allied events in Asia.

The event aims to promote a vibrant and relevant HPC ecosystem in Asia. Delegates will have the privileges to access visionary insights coming from thought leaders in academia and industry, optimum networking opportunities and the Supercomputing community in Asia.

Guest-of-Honour, Mr Heng Swee Keat, Singapore’s Minister for Finance, delivered the opening speech on 12 March 2019, highlighting that Singapore sees value in supercomputing because it addresses some of the country’s national challenges.

Reinforcing this is their commitment to funding research and development (R&D).

According to the Minister, “We set aside S$ 19 billion over five years – approximately 1% of GDP – to grow R&D capabilities in our universities, research institutes and companies.”

“How we transform all our industries, sector by sector, systematically, and search for new engines of growth, will be key to our future economy.”

Mr Heng Swee Keat, Minister for Finance, Singapore

Past Initiatives

AI and Quantum technologies are among those that they have been investing on and upon seeing the potential of both, have furthered increased the budget. Examples of their initiatives for both were cited.

In the area of quantum computing, the launch of the S$ 25 million Quantum Engineering Programme in September 2018 was mentioned.

The programme brings together Singapore’s public researchers in quantum information, photonics devices, and system engineering, with the industry partners.

Three application themes serve as the focus of the programme. These are Quantum Secure Communications, Quantum Devices, and Quantum Networks.

As for the government’s AI project, AI Singapore is a S$ 150 million initiative that aims to anchor deep national capabilities in AI and develop talents in the technology.

Launched by the National Research Foundation (NRF) Singapore, AI Singapore builds on a deep pool of AI talent in the universities.

Singapore has started investing in national computerisation over forty years ago. Currently, the country has some of the fastest supercomputers in Southeast Asia, reaching the petascale range.

In fact, the Minister shared that he was able to visit the National Supercomputing Centre (NSCC), which is the country’s first national petascale facility.

Located at the 17th floor, the Fusionopolis complex at One-North is one of the world’s highest HPC data centres.

It supports the scientific and engineering computing needs of the academic, research and industry communities on a 24/7 basis.

According to the Minister, “How we transform all our industries, sector by sector, systematically, and search for new engines of growth, will be key to our future economy.”

This is where high performance computing can play a key role.

Benefits of upgrading

The Minister of Finance proceeded to announce the S$ 200 million allocation by the National Research Foundation under the RIE2020 plan that will support the next phase of the development.

The budget will cover the upgrade of both of the supercomputing capability, network speed and quality for access by all institutions of higher learning as well as research institutions.

The upgrade will be providing 15-20 PetaFLOPS of high-end compute performance, which is comparable to a million laptops that are equipped with extensive high-performance network connectivity to the global partners.

This investment is critical especially as the country embarks on its journey as a Smart Nation as well as the digitalisation of the economy.

Upgrading the supercomputing resources will allow Singapore to keep up with its partners globally and to solve complex national challenges more quickly and effectively.

Singapore will have the capacity to analyse data such as temperature changes, wind flow and rainfall with high accuracy in order to better predict local climate and weather changes.

Another benefit will be the support for the urban planning efforts, enabling the government to plan ahead, to mitigate and improve the thermal comfort of tropical Singapore.

In addition, Singapore can go a step further to analyse urban mobility conditions and driver behaviours on the roads, which will aid planners to design a more flexible and efficient transport system.

This will optimise traffic flow and make traveling more efficient for the people.

The National Supercomputing Centre

NSCC is now a national strategic platform. It is host to more than 40 companies doing projects critical to their products and services pipeline.

It started Supercomputing Asia in 2018 with the goal of gathering like-minded individuals and institutions to share knowledge and form partnerships.

Supercomputing Asia is growing to be an international platform for technical experts and industry leaders from around the world to discuss ideas, build talents, and form partnerships.

In the next phase of economic growth, Singapore is striving to be a Global-Asia node for technology, innovation and enterprise, connected to other nodes in Asia and around the world.

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