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A*STAR and Fujitsu to start big data research initiative

Jack Loo | March 27, 2013
Researchers will focus on sustainable urban development solutions.

The Singapore government's Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), and Japan's Fujitsu are partnering to set up a big data research hub that will focus on building sustainable urban development solutions.

Both parties said that the creation of Centre of Excellence (CoE) for Computational Social Science and Engineering is the first of its kind in Singapore.

A Memorandum of Understanding was signed on 26 March 2013 at Fujitsu's Tokyo headquarters between Dr Raj Thampuran, managing director, A*STAR, and Kenji Ikegai, corporate senior executive vice president 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.

The CoE will utilise 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.

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.

"The joint investment in resources and sharing of know-how will focus on tackling deep and complex problems facing metropolitan areas and facilitate the development of new approaches in big data. It is highly anticipated that insights and outcomes derived from the research will drive further innovations and create prospects that may be applied to other big cities," said Professor Alfred Huan, executive director, IHPC.

Potential research areas

One potential research area is in 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.

Another is in the field of 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.

The CoE has also been looking at computational social systems. The research entails 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.


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