NUS boosts capabilities in artificial intelligence and data science

28 April 2017 | Research
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Smart Systems Institute repositioned for sharper focus on tech-enabled solutions and innovation    

The National University of Singapore (NUS) today announced that it will reposition an existing research institute that conducts interactive and digital media research to give a sharper focus on building strong capabilities and expertise in artificial intelligence (AI), big data analytics as well as applied research in areas such as augmented reality, virtual reality, Internet of Things and media technologies. In line with this strategic realignment, the former Interactive and Digital Media Institute (IDMI) has been renamed the NUS Smart Systems Institute (SSI).

SSI will be an integral part of NUS’ Smart Nation Research Cluster, which was established in 2016 to support Singapore’s Smart Nation Initiative by developing deep and strategic capabilities in data science, optimisation, cybersecurity and artificial intelligence.

Professor Ho Teck Hua, NUS Deputy President (Research & Technology) and Tan Chin Tuan Centennial Professor, said, “NUS established the Interactive and Digital Media Institute in 2007 to support the national effort to push the development of interactive and digital media (IDM) technology and industry in Singapore. Over the last decade, the institute has developed strong capabilities beyond IDM, in many areas in computer science including AI. It is therefore timely to reposition the institute with a new name and to sharpen its focus for the Smart Nation Initiative. This realignment of NUS’ strategic research resources will open up new opportunities for the University to carry out high-impact research as well as develop innovative solutions relating to digital economy and in doing so, improve the quality of life of Singaporeans and the community at large.”

NUS Smart Systems Institute (SSI)

Located on the NUS Kent Ridge Campus, SSI is home to three international research centres - Keio-NUS CUTE (Connective Ubiquitous Technology for Embodiments) Center; NUS-Tsinghua Extreme Search Centre (NExT); and Sensor-enhanced Social Media (SeSaMe) Centre which is a collaboration between NUS and Zhejiang University of China. The institute also comprises three research laboratories – Social Robotics Lab, Ambience Intelligence Lab and the Living Lab where extensive sensor research and deployment as well as test-bedding activities are conducted.

SSI will demonstrate leadership in the entire research to market life cycle. It will conduct high-end smart systems research and follow through to translate the research output into innovative solutions for the market. It will also continue to encourage spin-offs and work with industry in healthcare, wellness, education, and security, as well as contribute to relevant government initiatives. For more information on SSI, please visit http://ssi.nus.edu.sg/  

Complementing SSI’s activities and capabilities are two NUS research institutes that have a strong emphasis on artificial intelligence and data science research and applications:

  • NUS Institute of Operations Research and Analytics (IORA)

Established in November 2016, IORA leverages and mobilises NUS’ strengths in diverse disciplines to conduct cutting-edge basic and applied research on the optimisation, analysis and management of service systems, including model formulation, algorithm design, analysis of service strategies, and software development.

IORA is working with local hospitals to optimise resource allocation and utilisation, as well as developing a cutting-edge solver to tackle large-scale complex models that are often encountered in the field of data analytics. It has also set up a research programme on last mile delivery operation with smart devices and operations to support the Government’s vision of a federated locker system on the island.

Members of IORA are part of the research group SPIRE (Service Productivity and Innovation Research) that had recently won a multi-million dollar research grant from the Social Science Research Council. The inter-disciplinary project will advance new scientific knowledge and develop cost-effective and scalable strategies to raise productivity across multiple industries, including supermarkets, logistics, car-sharing services, and healthcare.

For more information on IORA, please visit http://iora.nus.edu.sg/

  • NUS Institute of Data Science (IDS)

Established in May 2016, IDS coordinates and supports data science research initiatives across NUS. The institute works closely with academic and industry partners as well as government agencies to develop integrated and innovative solutions that are relevant and impactful to address challenging real-world problems unique to Singapore and Asia. Industry partners of IDS include Microsoft, Alibaba Cloud and EZ Link.

As the focal point of data science research at NUS, IDS promotes and supports transdisciplinary research in data science. Some interesting research projects at IDS include the development of an integrated event analytics platform for efficient perception, accurate detection, on-time tracking, advanced pre-warning, and trend analysis of social events; as well as the design and implementation of analytics solutions for the modelling and analysis of water quality and the factors influencing water quality to generate findings to inform water management policies.

IDS also actively collaborates with industry partners and public agencies. For example, IDS is working with Workforce Singapore on analytics for job skills for the future. IDS will develop algorithms to analyse job seekers’ current skillsets and compare them against skillsets sought by companies from online job postings. Another example is the collaboration between IDS, Alibaba Cloud and EZ-Link to analyse smart card usage patterns. The insights gained will be translated into ready-to-implement solutions for companies like EZ-Link to improve customer experience and create better services.

For more information on IDS, please visit http://ids.nus.edu.sg/