Microsoft tie-up on data science

27 May 2016 | EducationResearch
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Prof Ho (left) and Ms Tan signing the MOU, which was witnessed by (standing from left) Prof Tan, Mr Wong, Mr Nadella and Mr Cernuda

NUS will collaborate with Microsoft to develop a series of industry-relevant data science research and education initiatives which will benefit the industry and academia in Singapore and the Asia Pacific. This partnership underscores the University’s strategic thrust on developing integrated data science capabilities in support of Singapore’s Smart Nation vision.

NUS Deputy President (Research and Technology) and Tan Chin Tuan Centennial Professor Ho Teck Hua and Microsoft Singapore Managing Director Ms Jessica Tan signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) at NUS on 27 May, paving the way for both parties to work collectively on a framework in this emerging field. NUS Chairman Mr Wong Ngit Liong and NUS President Professor Tan Chorh Chuan witnessed the signing ceremony together with Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Mr Satya Nadella and Microsoft Asia Pacific President Mr Cesar Cernuda.

NUS will be Asia’s first university to adopt Microsoft’s data science curriculum — developed by industry experts — and will work with the latter to co-create content for the University’s general education curriculum relating to data science. Microsoft will provide its Cortana Intelligence Suite Education Programme to help NUS faculties and schools create an optimal environment for data science laboratories and projects, as well as its Advanced Analytics Process and Technology (ADAPT) to enable the building and deployment of predictive models. It will also offer internship opportunities to NUS students.

Prof Ho said that NUS students can better appreciate the value and opportunities that big data can provide through these curriculum offerings. “Our researchers will also engage in joint research with Microsoft to develop novel, integrated solutions to industry-relevant data science problems, and in turn, harness technology to improve lives of Singaporeans,” he added.

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Mr Wong (left) exchanging a token of appreciation with Mr Nadella

The collaboration will also see the two organisations work on mutually beneficial research areas such as data science, deep learning and artificial intelligence, and build tools for broader use. It will also nurture a pool of skilled individuals equipped with the ability to harness the power of technology and make sense of huge amounts of complex data in order to achieve productive and inclusive growth as a nation.

“I am particularly excited that this collaboration will allow all non-IT students, as well as IT students who will acquire deeper data science and analytics capabilities, to understand how we can harness data and convert it into intelligence, insights, and actions. Even better, it will allow people from a cross-section of disciplines to co-create solutions that will build a Singapore Next that is smarter and more inclusive,” said Ms Tan.

The MOU signing was followed by the official launch of the NUS Institute of Data Science. The new institute, which focuses on data science research, education and related activities, has Microsoft as its first industry partner.      

Earlier that morning, five data enthusiasts — NUS Computing students Ipsita Mohapatra, M Thirukkumaran, Goh Jing Loon and Bernard Yip Mun Kit, and NUS Business student Kyle Tan Kai Heng — had an exclusive opportunity to engage Mr Nadella in a discussion on the future of data science.

“For someone fresh out of college to be able to meet and interact with the CEO of such a huge technology company is really a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” said Ipsita.

See press release.
See media coverage.

Mr Nadella (left) having an informal discussion with NUS students (Photo: Microsoft)

Mr Nadella (left) having an informal discussion with NUS students (Photo: Microsoft)