Launch of new $12m programme to advance blockchain innovation

Dec 7 (Monday) — A new $12 million Singapore Blockchain Innovation Programme (SBIP) was jointly launched by the Enterprise Singapore (ESG), the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) and the National Research Foundation (NRF) on Monday (Dec 7).

Funded by NRF, the programme aims to align blockchain technology research with the needs of the industry, to facilitate the development, commercialisation and adoption of wider real-world applications. This industry-driven initiative will engage close to 75 companies including MNCs, large enterprises and ICT companies to conceptualise 17 blockchain related projects within the next three years in sectors starting with trade and logistics, and supply chain.

Beyond research translation, SBIP will look into:

  • Blockchain scalability to enable the adoption of blockchain in environments with high transaction rates.
  • Blockchain interoperability, to enable value exchange across blockchain systems and address the current challenges of siloed blockchain networks.
  • Growing the blockchain tech talent pool to enable ICT companies to further tap on blockchain technologies.

“As the architect of Singapore’s digital future, we are constantly pushing the forefront of innovation in areas such as Blockchain. As the first major industry driven blockchain research programme, our intent is to proliferate blockchain adoption to a much broader set of industries, beyond just finance. This includes levelling up industry manpower and know-how. These efforts allow Singapore to build a strong blockchain ecosystem and establish our role as a Trust Hub.”

– Mr Lew Chuen Hong, Chief Executive, IMDA.

“COVID-19 emphasised the need for trusted and reliable business systems in the new digital world. Blockchain technology helps to embed trust in applications spanning logistics and supply chains, trade financing to digital identities and credentials. The acceleration of innovative business solutions under the Singapore Blockchain Innovation Programme will help our enterprises be more globally connected and competitive.”

– Mr Peter Ong, Chairman, Enterprise Singapore.

“The Singapore Blockchain Innovation Programme (SBIP) provides exciting growth opportunities for the blockchain innovation landscape and is a significant milestone in Singapore’s journey towards becoming a trusted, digital economy. Blockchain technology is increasingly playing an important role in technological innovation, industrial transformation, and digital finance. SBIP will help companies accelerate their technology adoption and be ready for the next phase of digital evolution.”

– Professor Low Teck Seng, Chief Executive Officer, NRF.

About SBIP

Singapore Blockchain Innovation Programme (SBIP) is a collaborative and nationwide technical community, hosted by the National Research Foundation, advancing blockchain technologies for business.

SBIP aims to unite communities of software developers in Singapore to build next-generation blockchain frameworks and to provide industrial blockchain infrastructure support.

For more information, visit

News References



Professor Ooi Beng Chin and research collaborators win 2020 ACM SIGMOD Research Highlight Award

From left: Professor Ooi Beng Chin, Computer Science PhD student Ruan Pingcheng and Senior Research Fellow Dr Lin Qian, received the 2020 ACM SIGMOD Research Highlight award for their paper, which offers a solution for blockchain vendors to improve their products. It was co-authored with three researchers from other universities.

24 June 2020 – NUS Computing Distinguished Professor Ooi Beng Chin and his team have won a 2020 ACM SIGMOD Research Highlight Award at the 2020 ACM SIGMOD/PODS International Conference on Management of Data, which was held online from 14 to 19 June. The conference is a leading international forum for researchers who explore and advance research on data management.

Prof Ooi and five other research collaborators received the award for their paper, titled ‘Revealing Every Story of Data in Blockchain Systems’. The award recognises research projects that address important problems with solutions that have considerable impact on the industry and the community.

The researchers explored combining two current, separate uses of blockchains — supporting online transactions between parties, and resolving transaction disputes — by introducing data provenance (a record trail of a data’s origin) to smart contracts (programs that run on a blockchain), explained NUS Computer Science PhD student Ruan Pingcheng, one of the paper’s co-authors.

This produces a feature that enriches the expressiveness of an application’s business logic (the algorithms dictating the flow and processing of information between a user interface and database). Expressive business logic thus refers to the ability for the smart contract to make better decisions for the client based on historical data.

For instance, a supply chain may utilise a smart contract that places orders for a product based on the company’s current stock. With the team’s solution, the smart contract relies on historical data to make better decisions for the company, such as referring to the monthly number of products recorded in the inventory in the previous year, to determine when orders should be placed or stopped.

Pingcheng added that the feature the team has come up with is secure, requires minimal additional resources, and offers a solution for blockchain vendors to improve their products and tailor it to their clients’ needs.

The paper’s other research collaborators include Dr Lin Qian, a Senior Research Fellow from NUS Computing’s Department of Computer Science, as well as computer science professors from the Singapore University of Technology and Design, Beijing Institute of Technology and Zhejiang University.

“We are very pleased that this research work has attracted a great deal of interest from database and blockchain communities. This means that our work is of practical importance to both databases and blockchains,” said Pingcheng, on behalf of the team.

NUS deep-learning AI system puts Singapore on global map of big data analytics

NUS Computing Professor Ooi Beng Chin and Director of NUS Smart Systems Institute (standing, third from right) led the NUS team that developed Apache SINGA

*News quoted from:

A team of NUS researchers has put Singapore on the global map of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and big data analytics. Their open-source project, called Apache SINGA, “graduated” from the Apache Incubator on 16 October 2019 and is now Southeast Asia’s first Top-Level Project (TLP) under the Apache Software Foundation, the world’s largest open-source software community.

Being recognised as a TLP is no small feat as Apache SINGA now joins the ranks of leading open-source tools such as the Apache HTTP Server and Apache Kafka. While the name may not immediately ring a bell, Apache Kafka powers big data solutions at Airbnb, LinkedIn, Netflix, PayPal, Spotify and many other corporations. The Apache HTTP Server is the most popular web server in the world and currently serves 29 per cent of all active websites on the Internet.

Led by Professor Ooi Beng Chin, Apache SINGA was initiated by the Database System Research Group from NUS Computing together with Zhejiang University and NetEase in 2014. The prototype was submitted to Apache Incubator in March 2015, and the first official release was made in October 2015. Since then, the NUS researchers have received support from the National Research Foundation Singapore, Ministry of Education, and the Agency for Science, Technology and Research.

Prof Ooi said, “We saw an increasing demand for deep learning and machine platforms in 2012, but there was a lack of efficient distributed platforms. The graduation is a mark of recognition for Apache SINGA, but this is just the beginning. We hope that Apache SINGA can make an impact on deep learning the same way Apache HTTP Servers did for website servers.”

Deep learning is a subset of machine learning that seeks to leverage artificial neural networks to generate meaningful insight from large amounts of data. While machine learning typically requires humans to provide structured data, deep learning can structure raw data by itself. An example would be identifying the image of cat; machine learning will require human input to define that a cat has features such as whiskers, pointed ears and paws. Deep learning will analyse multiple images of cats through various algorithms to determine all the features by itself, simulating an artificial brain.

However, the limitation of deep learning is that it requires an astronomical amount of data which in turn needs a lot of computational power. A typical centralised system would require a single supercomputer to process all this information which is not an option for most organisations. Apache SINGA’s distributed system approach helps to overcome the need for a single supercomputer as it spreads the workload across a large number of regular computers.

Apache SINGA currently powers applications across multiple sectors including healthcare, banking and finance, software development and cybersecurity. One such application is FoodLG, which uses image recognition to identify a dish based on the photo uploaded by the end-user. Five hospitals in Singapore are currently using different versions of FoodLG to promote healthy living and facilitate disease management for ailments such as diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol.

The National University Hospital (NUH) and the Singapore General Hospital are also leveraging Apache SINGA to analyse MRI and X-ray images to improve identification of health problems. In addition, NUH uses models trained on Apache SINGA for disease progression modelling and patient re-admission modelling. In the area of cybersecurity, SecureAge is developing malware detection deep learning models using Apache SINGA to identify malware more accurately, as well as identifying new types of malware based on past data. Local banks, on the other hand, are also using Apache SINGA to develop and train models for risk modelling and solving anti-money laundering compliance.

The next step for Apache SINGA is enhancing its system so that even non-AI experts are able to use it and preparing for the age of 5G by streamlining it to run on edge devices.

SINGA graduates to Top-Level Apache Project

We are excited and pleased to announce that Apache SINGA, a distributed machine and deep learning platform [1], is now an Apache Top-Level Project (TLP). The Apache Software Foundation (ASF) board has passed the resolution for SINGA to graduate from the Apache Incubator to become a top-level project on 16 Oct 2019, based on the evidence that SINGA’s community has grown, diversified and adapted to the Apache way.

The SINGA project was initiated by the DB System Group at the National University of Singapore (NUS) School of Computing in 2014, in collaboration with the database group of Zhejiang University and NetEase[4]. It focused on distributed deep learning by partitioning the model and data onto nodes in a cluster and parallelize the training. The prototype was submitted to Apache Incubator in March 2015 and in October 2015 [1].

About Apache SINGA

Apache SINGA is a usable, flexible, and scalable distributed deep learning platform for big data analytics. It provides optimization techniques, GPU support, and a simple, intuitive programming model that makes it accessible even to non-experts.

Apache SINGA is in use at organizations such as Carnegie Technologies, CBRE, Citigroup, JurongHealth Hospital, National University of Singapore, National University Hospital, NetEase, Noblis, Shentilium Technologies, Singapore General Hospital, Tan Tock Seng Hospital, YZBigData, and others. Apache SINGA is used across applications in banking, education, finance, healthcare, real estate, software development, and other categories

SINGA-auto, SINGA-easy and SINGA-lite

The SINGA team also developed SINGA-auto (a.k.a. RAFIKI) and SINGA-easy (a.k.a. PANDA) extensions. SINGA-auto provides AutoML services such as model construction, hyper-parameter tuning, model training and inference. Users can simply upload their datasets and configure the service to conduct training and then deploy the model for inference. As a cloud service system, SINGA manages the hardware resources and failure recovery. It speeds up hyper-parameter tuning by distributed tuning to achieve almost linear scalability. SINGA-easy allows people without much artificial intelligence (AI) knowledge to use AI technology with ease. SINGA-easy empowers a domain expert such as a doctor/clinician to fuse his domain knowledge into AI systems. SINGA-lite is being developed for edge computing and the 5G environment.

Apache SINGA community will continue to develop and improve to broaden its use, usability, efficiency, and scalability. Should you wish to have more information, please contact Dr. Wang Wei ( Downloads, documentation, and ways to be involved with the project can be found on the Apache SINGA Web site.

Apache Software Foundation

The Apache Software Foundation is the world’s largest open-source foundation and incubators of more than 350 Open Source projects and initiatives. After graduation, most top-level Apache projects become enterprise-grade software, benefiting millions of users worldwide. Graduation is a terrific milestone, but only the beginning for much wider adoption.






Prof Ooi Beng Chin and his team win VLDB 2019 Best Paper Award

19 August 2019 – SSI director prof Ooi Beng Chin received the Best Paper Award at the 45th International Conference on Very Large Data Bases (VLDB) held in Los Angeles, California, from 26 to 30 August this year.

VLDB is a premier annual international forum for data management and database researchers, practitioners and users. Over 500 papers were published in the top tier conference. Prof Ooi Beng Chin co-authored the award winning paper with his team.

The team’s system enables a new class of blockchain applications whose execution logic depends on provenance information at runtime. The team was able to implement their novel system on top of Hyperledger Fabric — a popular blockchain system – and demonstrate that their solution offers superb utility and security with negligible performance and storage overheads.

Suzhou Innovfest 2019

On 25& 26 September, Innovfest Suzhou 2019 had networking events, investor panel and focused sessions that include Modern Aging, Smart & Green Technology Application, Ecological Restoration and Sino-Singapore Entrepreneur Forum, covering digital medical, medical care, Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, intelligent manufacturing, green energy, pollution control and other scientific and technological fields.

NUS Artificial Intelligence Innovation and Commercialisation Centre (NUSSZAI) under SSI joined this event. In the Smart & Green Technology Application Sub-forum, we invited Lin Qian, the Senior Research Fellow from School of Computing, National University of Singapore to introduce Forkbase, an efficient storage engine for blockchain and forkable applications. Sun Hui, the CEO of a start-up called Suzhou QizhiData under our incubator shared their cooperation with our AI center and the industrial application of deep learning.

On 26 September, the Senior Deputy President & Provost of the National University of Singapore, Ho, Teck Hua visit our AI Center to know more about our current work at Suzhou.


SSI VR game debuted at the Tokyo Game Show 2019

A team of researchers and developers from the Keio-NUS CUTE Center at NUS, SSI has developed a novel mixed virtual reality game called ‘The Lost Foxfire’ to bring about a unique multisensory interaction and experience for players. Four sensory streams are fused together simultaneously in a virtual reality (VR) game to achieve remarkable realism.

‘The Lost Foxfire’ debuted at the Tokyo Game Show 2019, the world’s largest annual video game event that spotlights the latest trends and cutting-edge technologies for video games, in September 2019. ‘The Lost Foxfire’, the only project hailing from Singapore, was one of the 86 projects that were chosen from 320 independent projects around the world for the Sense of Wonder Night showcase.

About ‘The Lost Foxfire’

‘The Lost Foxfire’ is a multi-sensory Virtual Reality (VR) game that uses the sense of heat and smell to find and stop a Foxfire from accidentally burning down your house. The player uses five heat modules to sense heat on the front, back, left, right of the neck, and one for the face. It also uses one smell module to warn the player that the Foxfire is in the room.

Most conventional VR games use headsets and haptic bodysuits to mimic and amplify sensory feedback, for instance, to deliver the sensation of a cool breeze to match the visual scene of the moment. In contrast, the game set developed by Keio-NUS CUTE Center team brings VR multisensory bodysuits to a new level where real-time, life-like sensory feedback is used by players to make decisions that will directly impact the outcome of the gameplay.

Potential applications for collaboration

Although ‘The Lost Foxfire’ was first developed as an experimental game, its immersive simulation and experiential technology can be potentially extended to other applications. It could be used to simulate unique scenarios for training purposes or to demonstrate fire safety. We are open to collaboration opportunities and are currently in discussion with a few interested parties.

Know more about ‘The Lost Foxfire’ @

The Disruptions of 5G:Data-Driven Technologies and Applications

The Disruptions of 5G: Data-Driven Technologies and Applications

Presented by NUS Smart Systems Institute & SGInnovate

The global race for 5G mobile network is on. 5G is opening numerous opportunities and bringing disruption to industries from automotive to healthcare. With the adoption of 5G, there is a need to analyse its impact on the landscape of computing and data management.

In this event, we will analyse the impact of 5G on both traditional and emerging technologies and share our views on future challenges and opportunities. Join us and stay ahead of the pack!

Date: 20 November 2019, Wednesday
Time: 4:00pm – 6:30pm
Venue: 32 Carpenter Street, Singapore 059911


  • Neo Teck Guan, Chief Marketing Officer of Huawei Cloud Asia Pacific Region, Huawei Singapore
  • Prof Ooi Beng Chin, Distinguished Professor of Computer Science, National University of Singapore (NUS) and Director, Smart Systems Institute (SSI@NUS)

Moderator: Victor Tan, Director of Venture Investing, SGInnovate

Programme Details:
4:00pm – 4:30pm: Registration
4:30pm – 5:00pm: Keynote Presentations
5:00pm – 6:00pm: Panel Discussion and Q&A
6:00pm – 6:30pm: Networking

Speakers’ Profiles:

Dr Ayesha Khanna, CEO & Co-Founder, ADDO AI

Dr Ayesha Khanna is Co-Founder and CEO of ADDO AI, an artificial intelligence (AI) solutions firm and incubator. She has been a strategic advisor on artificial intelligence, smart cities and FinTech to leading corporations and governments. Ayesha also serves on the Board of the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) – a government agency in Singapore that develops its world-class technology sector to drive the country’s digital economy and power its Smart Nation vision.

In 2017, ADDO AI was featured in Forbes magazine as one of four leading artificial intelligence companies in Asia and Ayesha was named one of South East Asia’s groundbreaking female entrepreneurs by Forbes magazine in 2018. Her clients have included SMRT, Singapore’s largest public transport company; Singtel, Singapore’s largest telco; SOMPO, Japan’s largest insurance firm; Habib Bank, Pakistan’s largest bank; and Smart Dubai, the government agency tasked to transform Dubai into a leading smart city.

Ayesha is also the Founder of 21C GIRLS, a charity that delivers free coding and artificial intelligence classes to girls in Singapore, and founded the Empower: AI for Singapore national movement, which aims to teach all youth in the country the basics of artificial intelligence.

Before founding ADDO AI, Ayesha spent more than a decade on Wall Street developing large scale trading, risk management and data analytics systems. Ayesha was the co-founder of the Hybrid Reality Institute, a research and advisory group established to analyse the social and economic impact of accelerating technologies. She directed the Future Cities Group at the London School of Economics and has been a Faculty Advisor at Singularity University.

Neo Teck Guan, Chief Marketing Officer of Huawei Cloud Asia Pacific Region, Huawei Singapore

With over 29 years of experience in the ICT industries, Teck Guan’s primary focus is on Cloud Computing, Smart Nation/City Solutions, 5G, Data Centre and IT Outsourcing in the Asia Pacific. Some of his recent projects include supporting the Singapore Smart Nation 2025 initiatives, working with the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) on their Strategic Partners Programme (SPP), as well as led the Marketing Execution Team for Huawei Cloud Services in Huawei’s South Pacific region, and 5G Development in the region.

Prof Ooi Beng Chin, Distinguished Professor of Computer Science, National University of Singapore (NUS) and Director, Smart Systems Institute (SSI@NUS)

Prof Ooi Beng Chin is a Distinguished Professor of Computer Science, NUS Graduate School Faculty Member and Director of Smart Systems Institute (SSI@NUS) at the National University of Singapore (NUS), an adjunct Chang Jiang Professor at Zhejiang University in China, and the Director of the NUS AI Innovation and Commercialisation Centre in Suzhou, China. He obtained his Bachelor’s of Science (First Class Honours) and PhD from Monash University, Australia, in 1985 and 1989 respectively.

Beng Chin’s research interests include database systems, distributed and blockchain systems, machine learning and large-scale analytics, in the aspects of system architectures, performance issues, security, accuracy and correctness. He works closely with the industry (e.g. NUHS, Jurong Health, Tan Tok Seng Hospital, Singapore General Hospital, KK Hospital on healthcare analytics and prediabetes prevention). He exploits IT for disruption and innovation in various application domains, such as healthcare, finance and smart cities. He is a Co-Founder of yzBigData (2012) for Big Data Management and analytics, and Shentilium Technologies (2016) for AI and data-driven financial data analytics, Hangzhou MZH Technologies for Healthcare, and MediLot Technologies (2018) for blockchain-based healthcare data management and analytics. He also serves as an advisor of a RegTech company, Cynopsis Solutions and its blockchain KYC ICO, Huobi for its Huobi Chain, and as a non-executive and independent Director of ComfortDelgro and a member of Hangzhou Government AI Development Committee (AI TOP 30).

Moderator’s Profile:

Victor Tan, Director of Venture Investing, SGInnovate

Victor Tan is currently part of SGInnovate’s Venture Investing team in Singapore and concurrently manages investments and operations in North America. SGInnovate is focused on enabling entrepreneurs in Singapore to build start-ups with a strong emphasis on science and deep technology. As a private organisation owned by the Singapore Government, they bring together partners from the private sector, institutes of higher learning, and research organisations as part of Singapore’s broader ecosystem of innovation.

Topics: Artificial Intelligence / Deep Learning / Machine Learning / RoboticsOthers

SGInnovate and NUS-SSI successfully held the “The Future of Finance” Event

SGInnovate and NUS-SSI have successfully held the “The Future of Finance” Event on 26 Feb 2019. For this event, we bring together the brightest and best Finance professionals from NUS, UBS and AXA for an afternoon of thoughtful discussions, knowledge sharing, and networking.

Click to download: Prof Ooi Beng Chin-AI and Data-Driven Support for Fintech

Ng Teng Fong General Hospital and SSI developed new app for patients with prediabetes

In collaboration with the Ng Teng Fong General Hospital (NTFGH), Professor Ooi Beng Chin, Director of Smart Systems Institute(SSI), have developed the JurongHealth Food Log (JHFoodlg) app to help patients with prediabetes make behavioral lifestyle changes that are sustainable in the long run.

About the App

The app uses an artificial intelligence system to analyse food photos and display the dish’s nutritional values such as the number of calories, proteins, fats and carbohydrates. The daily food photos and amount of exercise the patient has done each day will be compiled into a diary to allow the user to review his or her diet goals.

Healthcare professionals such as dieticians and physiotherapists will be able to view this data and advise their patients remotely via a live chat feature.

The app is available to those who have been diagnosed with prediabetes and are participants of the hospital’s diabetes prevention research study programme.

Supported by the hospital’s dietitians and physiotherapists

Said Jesslyn Chong, Principal Dietitian, NTFGH, and co-Investigator of the LIVEN study

“Prediabetes is reversible with the essentials of diet and exercise. Using AI and combining it with an app-based diet and activity tracker, the JHFoodlg can be a tool to provide the necessary motivation to achieve the change, especially for today’s tech-savvy working adults.”

It also comes with a health coaching component, supported by the hospital’s dietitians and physiotherapists, to help patients with prediabetes reduce diabetes risk factors. Beyond educating about nutrition and fitness, the dietitians and physiotherapists will also provide patients with personalized feedback, encouragement and recommendations as they embark on their journey to reverse prediabetes.

Leveraging on technology to keep patients well

Said Prof Ooi Beng Chin, Distinguished Professor, School of Computing, NUS

“Harnessing AI has been an emerging trend in healthcare applications. There are numerous opportunities for healthcare practitioners to harness AI in caring for patients. The Food(lg) technology was developed as a foundation for end users (healthcare institutions) to design, customise and build on modules to suit their end goals.”


Smart Systems Institute will continue to work with the hospital to improve the overall user usage and experience of the app.


Done By: Ng Teng Fong General Hospital, Smart Systems Institute(SSI) of NUS
Contact Person: Prof Ooi Beng Chin, Distinguished Professor, School of Computing,  NUS

News: TODAYonline News / The Straits Times News