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Shared academic, research and industry platform boosts Singapore's AI agenda

AT least 400 researchers and developers will undergo artificial intelligence (AI) training with the signing of a new agreement between chipmaker NVIDIA and Singapore's National Supercomputing Centre (NSCC).

The agreement will also see the setting up of the first shared AI platform to bolster capabilities among academic, research and industry stakeholders. This is in line with AI Singapore (AISG), a national programme set up in May to drive AI adoption, research and innovation in Singapore.

Called AI.Platform@NSCC, the platform will provide AI training, technical expertise and computing services to AISG, which brings together all Singapore-based research and tertiary institutions, including the four local universities and research institutions in the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*Star).

The platform will be launched early next year and be located at NSCC's Data Centre in Connexis Building, Fusionopolis. For training and research, it will be equipped with six deep learning supercomputers that can provide up to 99 times more throughput than standard CPUs (central processing units). This will allow researchers to "dramatically reduce the time to train larger, more sophisticated deep neural networks to meet the computing demands of AISG", NSCC and NVIDIA said in a joint release on Tuesday.

"AISG aims to deliver 100 meaningful AI projects and proofs of concept to solve real-world problems swiftly. As a complementary effort, the training of 400 AI researchers and developers will certainly expedite the realisation of AISG's goals," said Ho Teck Hua, AISG executive chairman and NUS's deputy president (Research & Technology) and Tan Chin Tuan centennial professor.

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Separately, to garner a strong pool of AI talent in Singapore, NVIDIA has also launched a talents programme in collaboration with the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB).

Under the EDB-NVIDIA Future Talents Program, 30 postgraduate scholarships will be awarded to citizens or permanent residents of Singapore to study neural networks, machine learning and architecture development for graphics processing units (GPUs).

Together with local universities, NVIDIA will mentor the Master's and PhD candidates to develop industry-specific AI skills, the company said.

EDB's managing director Chng Kai Fong said: "Electronics enables the adoption of AI in applications such as autonomous vehicles, advanced manufacturing and fintech."

He added: "Singapore's strong electronics ecosystem brings us closer to our vision to be a Smart Nation. The EDB-NVIDIA Future Talents Program will help us to build the next generation of AI talent in Singapore, and strengthen our position as a hub for AI development and adoption."

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