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NUS Boosts AI Research and Education

Research and collaboration in Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been given a shot in the arm with the official launch of the National University of Singapore (NUS) Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (NUSAIL). Hosted at NUS Computing, NUSAIL’s mission is to be a centre of excellence in AI research, education, and practice. Its members include faculty, staff and students from NUS Computing, as well as affiliated members from other faculties and organisations, both locally and internationally.

In the short period since the establishment of NUSAIL, it has laid strong foundations in its mission to be a centre of excellence in AI research, education, and practice, with a focus on human-centric AI that will empower people to work together with AI. The work NUSAIL undertakes is critically relevant to NUS, as we have emerged as a global leader in AI research. For example, our Smart Nation Research Cluster has currently garnered S$1 billion in active research grants.

– Assistant Professor Tan Eng Chye, NUS President

In 2021, NUSAIL was awarded S$9.9 million in research grants by AI Singapore. The research grants will, over four years, support a broad spectrum of research on AI technology and its impact on people, such as computer vision, language processing, human-AI interaction, digital collaboration, interaction design and AI ethics.

In conjunction with the official launch of NUSAIL, two programmes were announced under its aegis. The first is a research programme called “The Other Me”, which focuses on human-centric, integrated intelligence. A core component of the programme is the development of an AI assistant, which will be embedded in smart glasses to collaborate with a user on various tasks in daily life and work, such as assembling a bike bought online.

The AI assistant communicates with a user through natural language to understand the user’s goals and preferences and works with the user to develop and execute the solution. It can see what the user sees from a first-person view to understand his/her actions and offer useful tips and just-in-time assistance.

The second programme is the iConnect membership programme, a collaboration between NUSAIL and SoC Industry Relations Office and which is aimed at promoting closer ties between industry partners and NUS Computing. iConnect is a membership-based industry affiliate programme that aims to accelerate the two-way exchange between researchers at NUSAIL and the local tech industry.

iConnect NUSAIL provides connections to the research and professional work of AI faculty and researchers at NUS Computing. The enhanced membership includes professional consultancy or lab visits hosted by AI faculty or researchers. Member companies can also access NUSAIL technical events and annual industry forums that showcase new ideas in AI research, as well as the latest innovations in AI technology that have a real-world impact.

The forum also saw the introduction of Rosetta, an initiative started by faculty members at NUS Computing. The special interest group brings together faculty members in NUS who teach AI courses in a spirit of dialogue and collaboration to leverage each other’s strengths and support each other in the field of AI education.

As reported by OpenGov Asia, NUS has officially launched two new digital platforms, the Internship-As-A-Service (IAAS) and conNectUS, to prepare students for the working world. IAAS simultaneously meets the needs of industry partners for specialised talent and expands the scope of hands-on internship and gig opportunities for NUS students. conNectUS allows students to build greater connectivity with the University’s alumni and tap on their wealth of industry knowledge and experience as they chart their career journeys.

Against a backdrop of NUS’ strengthening commitment to preparing graduates for the workplace of the future, the platforms support the holistic development of graduates, particularly in the areas of interdisciplinary education, internship opportunities, intellectual flexibility, and diversity of skill sets, as well as instil the value of lifelong learning in graduates and alumni.

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