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National Research Foundation to allocate S$200m to upgrade Singapore's supercomputing capability

SINGAPORE'S National Research Foundation (NRF) will be setting aside S$200 million to upgrade the Republic's supercomputing capability, network speed and quality for access by all institutions of higher learning and research institutions.

The funds will be allocated under the RIE2020 (research, innovation and enterprise) Plan, where S$19 billion has been set aside - over five years from 2016 to 2020 - to grow R&D (research and development) capabilities in universities, research institutes and companies.

Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat, who is also chairman of the NRF, announced this at the Supercomputing Asia 2019 conference on Tuesday.

Mr Heng said this will provide 15-20 PetaFLOPS of high-end computing performance, which is the equivalent of having a million laptops that are equipped with extensive high-performance network connectivity to Singapore's global partners.

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He added that this will allow Singapore to meet the growing needs of its national research and education programmes, and enable the country to tap other international research platforms.

The finance minister said this investment is critical as Singapore embarks on its journey as a Smart Nation, and that the country must upgrade its supercomputing resources, to "keep up with our partners globally and to solve complex national challenges more quickly and effectively".

He cited examples such as analysing weather data to support urban planning efforts and improve thermal comfort in tropical Singapore, and analysing urban mobility conditions to design a more flexible and efficient transport system.

Mr Heng said the investment will also open up more opportunities for Singapore companies, such as Keppel Corporation, which is working with National Supercomputing Centre Singapore to optimise the design of its rigs and vessels. Mr Heng said this can boost Keppel's offerings and make it more competitive.