Singapore to Expand Digital Infrastructure, Launch Quantum-safe Network Infrastructure & AI Verify Foundation

Singapore is committed to stay ahead by growing digital connectivity to create better lives and exciting for people and enterprises. Mrs. Josephine Teo, Singapore’s Minister for Communications and Information launched Singapore’s Digital Connectivity Blueprint on 5 June, ahead of the Asia Tech x Singapore (ATxSG) technology event.

Singapore will double down on providing capacity to enable submarine cable landings to double within the next ten years; build seamless end-to-end 10 Gbps domestic connectivity within the next five years. It will ensure world-class resilience and security for digital infrastructure and pioneer a roadmap for growth of new green Data Centres and push sustainability. It will also drive greater adoption of the Singapore Digital Utility Stack to expand the benefits of seamless digital transactions.

In addition, Singapore is actively pursuing opportunities in emerging and frontier sectors to harness future potential. One of their key objectives is to advance the vision of a Quantum-safe Singapore over the next decade. Additionally, Singapore aims to establish the foundations for pervasive autonomy. They are also committed to addressing the intensified computational demands by promoting the concept of “green software” and fostering a nascent ecosystem for sustainable software. Lastly, Singapore seeks to enable innovative solutions in key industries by leveraging Low Earth Orbit satellite services.

Infocomm Media Development Authority x Amazon Web Services Joint Innovation Centre @PIXEL

Singapore’s Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) has partnered with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to establish a Joint Innovation Centre (JIC), the first of its kind in Southeast Asia. Housed within IMDA’s Innovation Hub, PIXEL, the JIC offers specialized labs equipped with AR/VR, 5G, and usability testing facilities. It serves as a collaborative space connecting corporates and start-ups across Southeast Asia.

The JIC provides exclusive access to the latest tech showcases, innovation methodologies, workshops on design thinking, over 200 fully featured AWS technologies for experimentation, and project-based consultation by experts from IMDA and AWS. It aims to promote the adoption of tech solutions and offers connections to IMDA’s and AWS’s networks of corporates and start-ups in the region. Participants can leverage the AWS Partner Network to access customers in various industries, including government, education, and healthcare, locally and internationally. They can accelerate their development with AWS, utilize AWS Partner Programs, list their software on AWS Marketplace, and receive dedicated support for co-selling opportunities.

The JIC will be regularly refreshed every four to six months, showcasing tech solutions built on AWS and featuring start-ups associated with IMDA’s initiatives like the Accreditation and Spark programs. Among the solutions presented at the launch are AWS’s Generative AI model image creation, Virspatial’s digital twin solution for energy management, H3 Zoom AI’s machine learning solution for automated interior inspection, and Pindrop’s AI-based anti-fraud and voice recognition solution for accurate customer authentication.

SG Digital Leadership Accelerator

IMDA has selected 18 promising technology professionals from 16 different companies to serve as SG Digital Leaders through the SG Digital Leadership Accelerator program. This initiative is a part of IMDA’s endeavors to cultivate Singaporean leaders within the technology ecosystem who can assume influential positions in the digital economy. The appointed leaders represent a wide range of backgrounds, including founders of high-growth tech start-ups, executives in multinational corporations (MNCs), and innovators developing tech products with global reach. They possess diverse skill sets, leading teams at a regional level, and specialize in areas such as Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, data analysis, software development, and engineering.IMDA

The primary objective of the SG Digital Leadership Accelerator is to foster a cohesive community of Singaporean digital leaders within the tech ecosystem. It achieves this by facilitating collaboration and support among emerging leaders at various stages of their careers, helping them advance both professionally and personally in their leadership journeys. By leveraging this network, the accelerator program expedites the leadership development of both IMDA’s SG Digital Leaders and SG Digital Scholars. The initiative offers valuable networking platforms, mentorship opportunities from esteemed global tech leaders, and enables these leaders to in turn mentor and guide younger Singaporeans within the ecosystem.

National Quantum-Safe Network Plus (NQSN+)

Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister, Mr. Heng Swee Keat, announced the launch of the National Quantum-Safe Network Plus (NQSN+) at ATxSG. NQSN+ aims to deliver quantum-safe communications across Singapore. This is also part of Singapore’s Digital Connectivity Blueprint which outlines the next bound of Singapore’s digital connectivity that takes us up to 2030.

Quantum computing is a rapidly advancing field that harnesses the principles of quantum physics to tackle highly intricate problems beyond the capabilities of classical computers. This technology holds the potential to bring about groundbreaking advancements in computing power, simulation, and optimization, ultimately leading to transformative changes across industries and fostering innovation.

However, quantum computing also poses new security challenges along with its immense potential. Its ability to break many of the encryption algorithms currently in use raises concerns about data protection. To safeguard our digital infrastructure and fortify it against potential quantum attacks, Singapore must proactively embrace quantum-safe technologies. By adopting these advanced measures, Singapore can ensure the resilience of its digital systems and mitigate the risks posed by quantum computing.

The National Quantum-Safe Network (NQSN) was launched in 2022 to conduct nationwide trials of quantum-safe communications technologies to enhance network security. Over 10 years of quantum research efforts from the Centre fo Quantum Technologies (CQT) were hosted by the National University of Singapore. NQSN’s collaboration with universities, companies and government agencies has demonstrated the technical feasibility of deploying quantum-safe technologies such as Quantum Key Distribution (QKD), to protect against quantum computing risks.

The NQSN+ initiative will commence with a minimum of two network operators, each responsible for constructing an interconnected nationwide network that ensures quantum security. This network will be designed to cater to the needs of all businesses. Through collaboration with the NQSN+ operators, businesses will have the opportunity to incorporate quantum-safe solutions to protect their crucial data and information in the era of quantum computing.

IMDA is currently evaluating proposals from Singtel, as well as a joint-venture involving SPTel and SpeQtral.

Collaborating with global leaders for a quantum-safe tomorrow, today

Singapore and Japan will co-lead the first standardisation of the QKD protocol framework at the ITU Telecommmunication Standardisation Sector (ITU-T). Domestically, we have also published Singapore’s first Reference Specification (RS) on QKD Networks to guide technology vendors and organisations keen to deploy QKD networks, today. These efforts would serve to promote the deployment of QKD networks, fostering the adoption of quantum security both nationally and globally. 

IMDA has also signed an MoU with the Republic of Korea’s National Information Society Agency (NIA) to collaborate on quantum technologies and standardisation efforts. This collaboration will also facilitate the exchange of learnings and experiences between the network operators in their implementation of quantum-safe networks. 

AI Verify Foundation to Shape future of International AI Standards through Collaboration

Singapore launches the AI Verify Foundation to harness the collective power and contributions of the global open source community to develop AI testing tools for the responsible use of AI. The Foundation will boost AI testing capabilities and assurance to meet needs of companies and regulators around the world. The seven pioneering members include the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), Aicadium (Temasek’s AI Centre of Excellence), IBM, Microsoft, Google, Red Hat and Salesforce will guide the strategic directions and development of AI Verify roadmap. As a start, the Foundation will have also have more than 60 general members such as Adobe, DBS, Meta, SenseTime and Singapore Airlines.

IMDA and Aicadium Published Discussion Paper

IMDA and Aicadium have published a discussion paper to share Singapore’s approach to building an ecosystem for trusted and responsible adoption of Generative AI, in a way that spurs innovation and tap on its opportunities. The paper seeks to enhance discourse and invite like-minded partners from around the world to work with Singapore to ensure that Generative AI can be trusted and used in a safe and responsible manner. 

The paper identifies six key risks that have emerged from Generative AI and a systems approach to enable a trusted and vibrant ecosystem. The approach provides an initial framework for policymakers to (i) strengthen the foundation of AI governance provided by existing frameworks to address the unique characteristic of Generative AI, (ii) address immediate concerns and (iii) invest for longer-term governance outcomes. The specific ideas (e.g. shared responsibility framework, disclosure standards) also seek to foster global interoperability, regardless of whether they are adopted as hard or soft laws.

The full Discussion Paper can be downloaded here

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