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A*STAR, Fujitsu team up for a more sustainable S'pore

01 Apr 2013

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Singapore's Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) and Fujitsu Ltd have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to set the path for the development of the first Centre of Excellence (CoE) for Computational Social Science and Engineering in Singapore. According to them, the centre will seek to identify technological solutions and opportunities for sustainable urban development in key areas such as transportation management and energy efficiency with HPC-enabled technologies based on real-world data.

The MoU was signed at Fujitsu's Tokyo headquarters between Raj. Thampuran, managing director, A*STAR, and Kenji Ikegai, corporate senior executive VP and representative director, Fujitsu, in the presence of S. Iswaran, Singapore's minister in Prime Minister's Office, second minister for home affairs and second minister for trade and industry.

Facing similar challenges and demands on infrastructure and energy usage, both Japan and Singapore need to develop long-term urban sustainability solutions to ensure high standards of living, ample work opportunities for the populace as well as quality economic growth.

The CoE will use data from various agencies in Singapore to derive an understanding of complex dynamics within the city and exploit the power of modelling and simulation to guide both critical decisions and implementation of solutions. This, in turn, will create greater efficiencies in resource usage and allocation as well as generate vital growth opportunities in new areas.

In the case of transportation management, an efficient and sustainable transportation system demands the ability to monitor and understand the travel behaviour and dynamics of commuters, road users and network systems. The insight can be leveraged to optimise transport services, project future demand, identify tipping points and assess system performance.

Energy management
With regard to energy management, this involves analysis of the dynamics of energy supply and demand, such as using technology to track energy consumption while reducing wastage and optimal energy management. Additionally, there is also a need for the development of computational systems and methods for near-to-real-time processing of social information such as the consumer behaviour and lifestyle of the populace to enhance public, business, healthcare and educational needs/services and communication for the sustainability for urban living.

The Institute of High Performance Computing (IHPC) will lead the collaborative effort within A*STAR by drawing upon its capabilities in HPC-enabled analytics of real-world data provided by various sources, as well as its knowledge of complex systems and social behaviour. Fujitsu will leverage on its broad field knowledge on big–data and supercomputing-enabled simulation to pursue their joint research work within the CoE.

Both parties envisage that the collaboration will effectively address issues faced by modern cities in planning and implementing urban sustainability initiatives. The partnership will also unlock further economic opportunities through engendering key innovations for industry development and creating local employment opportunities.

Other partners in this COE include institutions and government agencies from both Singapore and Japan such as the National University of Singapore (NUS), Singapore's National Research Foundation (NRF) and Fujitsu Laboratories Ltd. The partners will convene across a series of workshops, projected to start in April 2013, to identify the research themes to be jointly studied by the CoE.

The CoE is expected to undertake projects by the end of this year through a team of engineers and researchers from Singapore and Japan.

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