Why Singapore is upgrading its supercomputing capability
A NATION’S ability to thrive in the digital age depends upon the strength of its infrastructure and the support of its government. Singapore seems to be doing well on both these fronts.
The country’s National Research Foundation (NRF) recently announced that it would be allocating about SGD200 million (US$148 million) towards efforts to upgrade Singapore’s supercomputing capacity and network speed, and also improving access for higher education and research institutions.
Regulators in the country have earmarked SGD19 billion (US$14 billion) under the RIE2020 (research, innovation, and enterprise) plan, to be spent on bolstering the city-state’s R&D abilities over the five years up to 2020.
Singapore’s Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat, in making the announcement, said that the fund would enable the country to provide its global partners about 15 -20 petaflops of ultra computing performance which is about the same as a million high-performance laptops running simultaneously.
The initiative will also allow Singapore to address the increasing need in research and academic programs, as well as participate in collaborative research initiatives with international bodies.
As Singapore journeys towards becoming a smart nation, the investment to upgrade its computing infrastructure is crucial according to Heng, for the country to keep up with its global partners and to solve its complex national challenges promptly and effectively.
For instance, the computational powers could be deployed to analyze weather data and facilitate urban planning efforts to improve Singapore thermal conditions. Beyond that, it would support the country’s drive to develop more efficient, fully integrated transportation systems to enhance mobility.
Companies within the private sector also benefit from this investment, Heng pointed out, as there will be increased opportunities for public-private partnerships.
One such partnership the regulators pointed out is Singapore’s offshore and marine company, Keppel Corporation’s collaboration with the country’s National Supercomputing Centre to develop optimal rigs and vessel designs which enhance the company’s services.
This latest funding initiative by the government is consistent with its pledge to spend one percent of if its GDP on R&D and along with its business-friendly approaches such as low taxes and efficient regulatory frameworks, the country has become an innovation hub in the region.