Artificial intelligence (AI) has the potential to transform the screening of dementia, a disease that affects millions of people worldwide. A project based in Singapore, Project Pensieve is developing a digital screening tool that utilises AI to analyse drawings to detect early signs of dementia in users.
In collaboration with the Department of Psychiatry at Singapore General Hospital, GovTech has developed a tool that incorporates machine learning technology and local clinical expertise to accurately estimate the risk of dementia in just 10 minutes. This initiative is part of GovTech’s ongoing effort to use AI to detect dementia earlier, improve healthcare and enable seniors to live active, fulfilled lives.
The research and development phase of Project Pensieve will continue through 2023. By utilising AI, the tool is expected to facilitate more efficient and effective early screening for dementia within the community.
According to Associate Professor Liew Tau Ming, Principal Investigator of Project Pensieve and a senior consultant psychiatrist at Singapore General Hospital, “The timely detection of dementia enables those with the condition to access medications that can slow down the progression of the disease and interventions that help manage related behavioural symptoms. Additionally, caregivers will also have access to important community resources for dementia care.”
The OpenGov Asia Recognition of Excellence Award recognises Project Pensieve for its significant contribution to the AI and dementia screening field.
Utilising AI for early detection of dementia
“Singapore is experiencing its silver wave now,” says Tan Congyuan, Product Manager, Data Science and Artificial Intelligence Division, Government Technology Agency (GovTech), Singapore. “Today, one in seven Singaporeans are seniors. By 2030, we expect one in four Singaporeans aged 65 and above. That’s a projection of more than 900,000 seniors.”
Presently, one out of every ten senior citizens in Singapore has dementia. By 2030, it is anticipated that Singapore will have 152,000 individuals suffering from dementia. Unfortunately, up to 70% of dementia patients in Singapore remain undiagnosed until they have reached a later stage of the disease.
Despite the glaring gap in dementia diagnosis, there has been no efficient and scalable solution to address it at the population level. However, Singapore General Hospital and GovTech saw the potential of AI in developing a solution as the technology matured. Thus, they embarked on this journey in 2020, leveraging each other’s expertise and strengths in dementia care and machine learning (ML).
According to Congyuan, while several cognitive tests such as Min-Cog and Mini-Mental State Examination can assist in the early diagnosis of dementia, they have deployment limitations since each test requires 20 to 30 minutes to administer.
They are labour-intensive and frequently necessitate specialised training before they can be used by a healthcare professional. Moreover, some of these tests are dependent on the respondent’s literacy skills.
Drawing tests, on the other hand, do not rely on the respondent’s literacy level, making them more inclusive and accessible to a wider population. The test is self-administered via an app on a tablet using prerecorded audio and video prompts. It typically takes between five and ten minutes to complete and the AI instantly and automatically scores the test results.
One of the obstacles to early diagnosis of dementia is the current healthcare system, in which the resources required to diagnose dementia, especially the availability of trained professionals to administer cognitive tests, are concentrated at specialised memory clinics in tertiary hospitals. However, many community-based seniors rarely visit tertiary hospitals, limiting their access to professional cognitive evaluations.
Project Pensieve’s objective is to enable non-experts, such as volunteers, caregivers, or administrative staff from the community, to administer the exam, broadening the reach and scope of dementia screening.
The journey towards a minimum viable product
Choosing and adapting the AI algorithm to enhance the accuracy and robustness of identifying dementia cases was a critical technical consideration. Consequently, the Project Pensieve team tested the concept against a small set of synthetic data using few-shot learning techniques, which gave them the confidence to develop a minimum viable product (MVP).
The minimum viable product (MVP) gathered a dataset of 1,000 senior participants’ drawing strokes to enhance the AI model’s accuracy using actual data. Initial results showed promising inference accuracy rates of over 80%. As the project is ongoing, the precision of the AI model will improve as more data is collected.
Using a digital tablet, a participant is required to complete four drawing tests on the app which record the sequence of strokes made by the participant. The AI model then evaluates the stroke sequences and drawings to estimate the risk of dementia.
The project’s AI engineers Jessica Foo and Howard Yang employed multiple AI techniques for this project, including meta-learning, which helped them overcome the lack of data in the project’s early stages. This technique teaches a model to “learn to learn”, allowing for the rapid generalisation of new information.
To better capture temporal information, the engineers explained that they used long short-term memory (LSTM) and gated recurrent units (GRUs) to process images as stroke sequences. By analysing stroke sequences rather than the conventional pen-and-paper drawing, the AI can detect anomalous drawing sequences or prolonged hesitation when drawing, which may indicate cognitive difficulties.
More than 600 seniors participated in the project’s pilot and underwent memory assessments conducted by dementia specialists. Several individuals with dementia and mild cognitive impairment, which are early indicators of dementia, were picked up by the pilot.
“By recruiting community-dwelling seniors as volunteer participants, Project Pensieve was able to identify positive markers of dementia in individuals who might have gone undiagnosed otherwise,” Congyuan says excitedly. “These individuals were then referred to the memory clinic for follow-ups and further evaluation.”
Designing Project Pensieve with the user in mind
Designing for user-friendliness was one of the considerations, particularly for elderly users who are not digital natives and have little experience with interactive screens. Users needed to become familiar with the app so that the inputs collected were accurate and not influenced by the friction of drawing in a new medium.
The team conducted user experience research with clinicians and patients in the early stages of development, using tools such as affinity diagrams, user personas and emotional journey mapping to extract insights and themes to guide the app’s development.
Rachel Shong, Pensieve’s UX designer, engaged seniors at void decks and Residents’ Committees (RCs) to demonstrate mock-ups and gather feedback. The team had to design the user experience from the perspective of seniors with varying cognitive abilities, keeping in mind that they may have little experience with tablets and interactive screens.
The team was mindful throughout the process that inclusive design stems from empathy and that the human element must not be overlooked in the design process.
Rachel revealed that when designing the test setup, they considered a range of factors: “For example, selecting a stylus that resembles the classic hexagonal 2B pencil without any side buttons to recreate a familiar feel and reduce apprehension arising from tech novelty.”
The team intentionally chose a tablet that was appropriately sized and not too heavy for the participants to handle. They also paid attention to the user interface, including the visual contrast of the app and the size and style of the fonts, to ensure readability for seniors.
Project Pensieve maintains a human-centred approach by inviting citizen co-creation and participation. The team engaged the public through various events and platforms during the product development phase, such as GovTech’s Tech Kaki group and IMDA’s Digital for Life event.
Supporting existing dementia initiatives with Project Pensieve
Project Pensieve serves as a significant addition to the current dementia support initiatives, as the detection and intervention process is complex and various factors can affect the outcome. For example, even if a person is identified as being at risk for dementia, they may choose not to pursue follow-up due to stigma, anxiety, financial constraints, lack of knowledge, family circumstances, or other reasons.
“The healthcare system also needs to be robust enough to support the additional load of picking up more people with early dementia,” Congyuan opines.
It is important to note that AI should only be used as an aid in the diagnosis of dementia, and not as a replacement for a professional diagnosis. Therefore, it is recommended that individuals identified as potentially having dementia through AI testing be referred to a trained clinician for a more comprehensive diagnosis and appropriate intervention.
Adjustments will be made to the sensitivity and specificity of the AI as more data comes in. Sensitivity represents the true positive rate, and specificity represents the true negative rate. A test with high sensitivity will reliably detect the presence of a condition, resulting in a high number of true positives and a low number of false negatives. This is especially crucial when the repercussions of missing the condition are severe. A test with a high specificity reliably excludes individuals who do not have the condition, resulting in many true negatives and a small number of false positives. This is especially crucial when people with a condition are subjected to additional testing, expense, stigma, and anxiety, among other things.
AI can and is already being used for a variety of tasks such as interpreting imaging results, ensuring medication adherence, and detecting abnormal behaviour that could be a symptom of a problem, such as a fall detection device.
The team is actively investigating the optimal application of AI to healthcare needs.
About the team
The Project Pensieve team is committed to achieving its goal of providing public benefit through its collaborative work. Clinical experts from Singapore General Hospital develop the drawing tests and administer and interpret them to provide ground truth data to train the AI.
GovTech has software developers building the app, AI and data engineers who build the AI engine to improve the accuracy and robustness of detecting dementia and user experience designers who conceptualise features and the user journey to deliver a good experience.
The team demonstrates empathy towards the user’s experience, strives for continuous innovation and delivers a superior product by putting themselves in the shoes of all stakeholders.
Interacting with seniors whose cognitive abilities span a broad spectrum is a good example of empathy. The team must demonstrate sensitivity and patience when approaching, understanding and communicating with the elderly.
The project team must be able to communicate its business case and the potential value of the project to stakeholders to gain their support. Stakeholders can evaluate the cost-benefit ratio and determine the level of support for the project if they are informed of progress, obstacles and successes.
“For example, challenges arising from the COVID situation led to a slower outreach and uptake of recruitment at the start, necessitating some schedule adjustments,” Congyuan explains. “Being transparent in the recovery action and demonstrating successful delivery of intermediate milestones gave the stakeholders confidence in their support to overcome the hurdles.”
The Project Pensieve team includes subject matter experts from various fields, including clinical, user experience, and artificial intelligence. Open communication within the team is vital as it ensures that everyone’s domain expertise is shared and not withheld and members know whom to approach when confronted with a complex problem.
For instance, the AI engineer must comprehend how clinicians interpret features within a drawing to optimise the AI’s ability to zero in on areas of interest.
Congyuan shared that the team uses Kanban to track work transparently and keep each other informed of upcoming tasks or backlogs. This allows the team to pursue incremental, evolutionary improvements throughout the phases of the project, as app development progresses concurrently with participant usage.
“Team members are empowered to be leaders and initiate enhancements to the solution and workflow while managing team capacity,” Congyuan concludes.
Congyuan is optimistic about the future of AI technology in healthcare and is excited to see what it can develop to better serve people. Thanks to the dedicated efforts of his team who share similar values, he believes that this industry will continue to thrive and grow in the years ahead.
In a stirring address at the Emerging Enterprise Awards (EEA) 2023, Senior Minister of State Tan Kiat How underscored the pivotal role of continuous learning and skills acquisition in navigating the dynamic landscape of the modern world.
Emphasising that education should be viewed as a lifelong journey, extending beyond formal academic years, he articulated the need for individuals to adapt to the evolving demands of an ever-changing workplace.
Acknowledging the government’s commitment to supporting Singaporeans in this quest for perpetual learning, Tan Kiat How also appealed to business owners and industry leaders to create an enabling environment for employees to upgrade their skills. He highlighted the Forward Singapore report, a comprehensive guide to the nation’s major developmental shifts, urging those unfamiliar with it to explore its insights.
The Senior Minister of State asserted that embracing technology as a strategic enabler is integral to overcoming traditional constraints and enhancing competitiveness. He underscored Singapore’s pioneering role in digital technology adoption, dating back to the 1980s when the nation became one of the first in the world to integrate computers into its public service and workplaces.
Singapore places a paramount emphasis on the pivotal role of digitalisation in revolutionising its educational landscape. With a focus on enhancing learning experiences, fostering global competitiveness, and preparing students for the future workforce, the nation is embracing innovative teaching methods and personalised learning through advanced digital tools.
The integration of technology not only streamlines administrative processes but also facilitates seamless transitions between in-person and online learning models. This commitment to digitalisation reflects Singapore’s dedication to staying at the forefront of educational innovation, equipping students with essential technological skills for the evolving global landscape.
This commitment to technological advancement has persisted, forming the bedrock of Singapore’s digital foundation. Senior Minister Tan shed light on the government’s SMEs Go Digital programme, an initiative integrating emerging technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and cloud services into Industry Digital Plans (IDPs).
These IDPs serve as roadmaps, guiding businesses across various sectors in adopting digital solutions and upskilling their workforce. In a recent example, the Tourism (Attractions) IDP incorporated AI to streamline workflows and provide data-driven insights, enhancing decision-making for attraction operators.
The government’s holistic approach extends beyond specific sectors, with a thorough examination of industry disciplines sector by sector. This involves updating strategies, incorporating emerging technologies, and ensuring that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) can boost productivity and competitiveness while navigating the complexities of digital transformation.
Senior Minister Tan cited the Chief Information Security Officers-as-a-Service initiative, where cybersecurity consultants aid firms in enhancing cyber resilience through “check-ups” and tailored health plans.
Encouraging firms and networks to actively engage with these programmes, Senior Minister Tan emphasised the need for Singapore to embrace its agency in shaping its future. He urged the nation to leverage its strong foundation and the strategic roadmap outlined in Forward Singapore.
As Singapore charts its digital odyssey, the EEA 2023 serves as a platform not just for acknowledging achievements but for inspiring a collective commitment to a future where technological innovation and lifelong learning propel the nation to new heights.
The Senior Minister of State added that Singapore’s exceptionalism relies on collective ambition, hard work, and unity, ensuring that the nation continues to defy the odds and stand as a beacon on the global stage.
Union Minister of State for Skill Development & Entrepreneurship and Electronics & IT Rajeev Chandrasekhar shared comprehensive insights into India’s tech landscape at the 26th Edition of the Bengaluru Tech Summit.
Minister Chandrasekhar navigated through a spectrum of crucial tech domains, unravelling India’s transformative journey and the role of entrepreneurship and innovation in the digital economy. He shed light on India’s burgeoning semiconductor industry, the transformative potential of AI, and the instrumental role of startups in shaping the nation’s economic future.
Minister Chandrasekhar reflected on the dynamic shift in India’s semiconductor narrative, echoing the sentiments articulated by India’s Prime Minister at the Semicon India 2023 Summit. He underscored the evolving perspective from “why India” to “when in India” and “why not in India.”
This transformation signifies the growing confidence and capabilities within India’s tech ecosystem, a testament to the nation’s progress in diverse domains such as AI, semiconductors, electronics, Web 3, supercomputing, and high-performance computing.
“Pre-2014, India’s semiconductor story was a series of missed opportunities,” reflected Minister Chandrasekhar while tracing the trajectory of the semiconductor industry’s evolution.
Despite lacking a design legacy, Minister Chandrasekhar emphasised India’s strides in the semiconductor sector. Acknowledging the catch-up game after missed opportunities, he highlighted India’s leapfrogging approach, skipping a generation to explore novel opportunities for the next decade.
The focus on talent, design, packaging, and research has propelled India towards becoming a significant player in the global semiconductor ecosystem, marking a definitive trajectory of growth.
Minister Chandrasekhar reiterated India’s emphasis on harnessing AI’s transformative power resonates deeply with India’s commitment to leveraging cutting-edge technology for societal betterment and enhanced living standards across diverse segments of the population.
“We believe that AI when harnessed correctly, can transform healthcare, agriculture, governance and language translation”: MoS Rajeev Chandrasekhar
By integrating AI technologies into these sectors, the aim is to revolutionise service delivery, streamline operations, and democratise access to advanced services for all citizens. However, he also addressed the inherent risks posed by the potential misuse of AI by bad actors, stressing the need for legislative guardrails to ensure safety and trust in AI applications. Aligning with global sentiments, Chandrasekhar highlighted the necessity for regulatory frameworks to prevent misuse and foster ethical AI deployment.
“The world is now aligning with India’s view that we need guardrails of safety and trust for the Internet,” he said.
In an increasingly tech-dependant world, Mnster Chnadrashekhar believes that innovation and entrepreneurship are vital – startups are the pillars of India’s tech evolution. Elaborating on India’s startup landscape, Minister Chandrasekhar showcased the pivotal role played by startups since 2014, citing the emergence of 102 unicorns and a substantial influx of FDI.
He emphasised how startups are not just economic entities but integral components of India’s tech vision, contributing significantly to the digital economy’s $1 trillion goal. With a focus on nurturing the futureDESIGN DLI startups, Chandrasekhar envisaged their potential to become the unicorns of tomorrow, driving innovation across AI, semiconductors, and next-gen electronic systems.
Minister Chandrasekhar’s insights underscore India’s rapid tech evolution, emphasising the nation’s strides in semiconductors, the transformative impact of AI, and the pivotal role of startups. As India charts its course towards a $1 trillion digital economy, its vision encapsulates the imperative of regulatory frameworks, innovative strides, and collaborative efforts in harnessing technology for inclusive growth and global relevance.
OpenGov Asia reported that Minister Chandrasekhar, who spoke at two influential tech events: the Indian Express Digifraud & Safety Summit 2023 and YourStory Techsparks’23, expressed similar views on India’s technological advancements, regulatory policies, and the nation’s promising future in the global tech landscape.
At these tech summits, Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar outlined India’s ambitious technological trajectory, reinforcing the government’s dedication to fostering innovation, ensuring a safe digital environment, and harnessing the transformative power of technology for the nation’s progress.
Collaboration with other entities is paramount in this digital era. Especially in the healthcare sector, having a robust digital infrastructure and leveraging technological advancements is crucial for effective cancer control. With the robust infrastructure established through collaboration, the Manatū Hauora’s Polynesian Health Corridors (PHC) programme is well-positioned to pioneer innovative approaches to cancer prevention, diagnosis, and treatment.
This initiative is a collaborative effort between PHC and critical partners, including Te Aka Mātauranga Matepukupuku (Cancer Research Centre) and Te Poutoko Ora a Kiwa (Centre for Pacific and Global Health), housed within Waipapa Taumata Rau at The University of Auckland. The programme spans six partner countries: the Cook Islands, Niue, Tokelau, Samoa, Tonga, and Tuvalu.
Recognising the need for effective cancer control measures, Polynesian health leaders have identified cancer control as a top priority and a focal point for the PHC programme. During the design phase led by Waipapa Taumata Rau (University of Auckland), collaborative efforts are being made to shape the cancer control programme in alignment with the healthcare landscapes of each partner country. This inclusive approach ensures that the programme is tailored to address specific regional needs and challenges.
As part of the broader initiative, PHC aims to support the six partner countries in the seamless implementation of planned activities, emphasising integrating these initiatives into the New Zealand Health System. The design phase is anticipated to be substantially completed by mid-next year, paving the way for the subsequent steps in the programme’s execution.
Established in 2020, the Polynesian Health Corridors (PHC) programme operates under the auspices of the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT). It was conceived to fortify the ties between Aotearoa, New Zealand’s robust health system and its partner countries. PHC operates within the Global Health Group at the Public Health Agency|Te Pou Hauora Tūmatanui, a division of Manatū Hauora.
The collaboration with partners such as Te Aka Mātauranga Matepukupuku and Te Poutoko Ora a Kiwa underscores the commitment of the PHC programme to leverage collective expertise and resources for the benefit of Polynesia. The emphasis on a multi-year cancer control programme reflects a forward-thinking approach to addressing the complex challenges of cancer within the region.
The multifaceted design of the cancer control initiative encompasses a spectrum of considerations, including early detection strategies, treatment modalities, and holistic support systems for affected individuals and their families. By actively involving partner countries in the design phase, PHC ensures that the programme aligns with the cultural nuances and healthcare infrastructures unique to each Polynesian nation.
In addition to its primary focus on cancer control, the PHC programme signifies a broader commitment to strengthening healthcare ties between Aotearoa, New Zealand and its Polynesian partners. The strategic collaboration with Waipapa Taumata Rau, a leading health research and education institution, adds a dimension to the initiative. Waipapa Taumata Rau’s expertise is instrumental in shaping the design phase of the cancer control programme, contributing evidence-based insights and leveraging its research capabilities.
As the design phase progresses, PHC anticipates a pivotal role in supporting the implementation of planned activities, fostering collaboration between partner countries, and facilitating seamless integration into the New Zealand Health System. The interconnected nature of this initiative underscores the importance of global cooperation and shared knowledge in tackling complex health challenges.
This initiative exemplifies the power of international cooperation in addressing pressing health concerns and sets a precedent for future collaborations in global health. The PHC programme’s collaborative efforts extend beyond regional boundaries, fostering a shared knowledge and resources model that transcends geopolitical constraints. As the design phase unfolds, the programme’s commitment to inclusivity and accessibility remains central to its vision for transforming cancer control in Polynesia.
In emphasising the importance of inclusivity, technology must cater to individuals with physical impairments who face challenges in using traditional input devices like mice and keyboards, which often leads to their exclusion from technical professions.
To foster inclusive accessibility, multiple alternative methods should be actively identified and implemented to facilitate individuals with physical impairments to engage in coding activities. The evolution of these alternative input methods signifies a positive shift towards a more inclusive and accessible technological landscape.
In an initiative to encourage digital inclusion and technological education, a KidBright Workshop has targeted students and teachers from 10 schools catering to children with disabilities. This workshop showcased the power of the KidBright AI Platform in guiding participants to construct embedded system projects.
Dr Patchralita Chatwalitpong, The National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA) Vice President for Science and Technology Human Resources Development, emphasised the significance of advancing science and technology education among disabled individuals. “Disabilities children also have the right to gain knowledge in this digital realm. Physically impairment is not merely the obstacle for it,” she addressed.
KidBright, a coding learning tool developed by NECTEC-NSTDA, emerged as a beacon of innovation. As an open-source embedded programming platform, KidBright enables children to learn coding through its embedded board and KidBright Integrated Development Environment programme (KidBright IDE). The platform’s accessibility and user-friendly interface empower young learners to delve into coding seamlessly.
The genesis of this impactful project traces back to 2018, when NSTDA initiated a pioneering effort to promote coding skills specifically tailored for children with disabilities. From 2018 to 2020, KidBright boards and UtuNoi STATION packages were distributed across these schools, accompanied by a series of workshops for both students and teachers. These workshops provided comprehensive training on programming KidBright boards and equipped participants with the skills to create embedded system projects.
The inclusion of data science knowledge in 2019 and 2020 further enriched the project, empowering educators and students to devise innovative solutions catering to the needs of people with disabilities. Notably, several of these inventive creations garnered accolades in innovation contests.
The project’s trajectory leapt in 2023 with a strategic expansion into artificial intelligence (AI). This follow-up session spotlighted the development of science projects utilising the KidBright AI Platform. Led by the adept Educational Technology Research Team and spearheaded by Dr Saowaluck Kaewkamnerd, this workshop aimed to deepen participants’ understanding of AI and encourage the creation of innovative projects with real-world applications.
This multifaceted project exemplifies the commitment to advancing education in emerging technologies and ensuring inclusivity in digital literacy. Integrating coding, embedded systems, data science, and AI into the curriculum empowers students, especially those with disabilities, to become adept in the digital landscape. The KidBright AI Platform catalyses nurturing creativity, problem-solving skills, and a passion for technology among the younger generation, transcending barriers and fostering a more inclusive and technologically literate society.
Further, the recognition of inclusivity has gained global attention, exemplified by its acknowledgement in the United States. The Alliance for Access, the Computing Career Centre from Washington University, outlined several approaches that can enhance programming accessibility for students with diverse disabilities. To illustrate:
- Clear Instructions and Examples: Providing clear instructions and relevant examples universally benefits all students, promoting a better understanding of programming concepts.
- Speech Input Software: Students who face challenges with conventional keyboards can leverage speech input software.
- Macro-Writing Programmes: Utilising a macro-writing programme for individuals with mobility impairments becomes invaluable. This programme facilitates the creation of shortcuts, simplifying the typing process.
- IDE Features: Integrated development environments (IDEs) may incorporate features specifically beneficial for students with disabilities.
- Word or Syntax Auto-Completion: Predictive typing assists users by anticipating their input.
- Syntax Highlighting: Color-coded representation of typed code enhances visual distinction.
- Variable Name Highlighting: Ensures consistent spelling of variable names.
- Inline Spell-Check: This feature can benefit some students, promoting accurate coding.
By highlighting and implementing this in the programming environment among disabled children in Thailand, educators can create a more inclusive and supportive learning experience for students with disabilities, not only enhancing the knowledge of students but also fostering inclusivity and equality.
Singapore’s Senior Minister of State for Defence, Heng Chee How, and Senior Minister of State for Communications and Information and Health, Dr Janil Puthucheary, recently visited the Critical Infrastructure Defence Exercise (CIDeX) 2023, underscoring the government’s commitment to fortifying national cybersecurity.
The exercise, held at the National University of Singapore School of Computing, witnessed over 200 participants engaging in operational technology (OT) critical infrastructure defence training.
Organised by the Digital and Intelligence Service (DIS) and the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore (CSA), with support from iTrust/SUTD and the National Cybersecurity R&D Laboratory (NCL), CIDeX 2023 marked a collaborative effort to enhance Whole-Of-Government (WoG) cyber capabilities. The exercise focused on detecting and countering cyber threats to both Information Technology (IT) and OT networks governing critical infrastructure sectors.
This year’s edition boasted participation from DIS, CSA, and 24 other national agencies across six Critical Information Infrastructure (CII) sectors. With an expanded digital infrastructure comprising six enterprise IT networks and three new OT testbeds, participants operated on six OT testbeds within key sectors—power, water, telecom, and aviation.
CIDeX 2023 featured Blue Teams, composed of national agency participants serving as cyber defenders, defending their digital infrastructure against simulated cyber-attacks launched by a composite Red Team comprising DIS, CSA, DSTA, and IMDA personnel. The exercises simulated attacks on both IT and OT networks, including scenarios such as overloading an airport substation, disrupting water distribution, and shutting down a gas plant.
The exercise provided a platform for participants to hone their technical competencies, enhance collaboration, and share expertise across agencies. Before CIDeX, participants underwent a five-day hands-on training programme at the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF)’s Cyber Defence Test and Evaluation Centre (CyTEC) at Stagmont Camp, ensuring readiness for cyber defence challenges.
On the sidelines of CIDeX 2023, the DIS solidified cyber collaboration by signing Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) with key technology sector partners, expanding its partnerships beyond the earlier agreement with Microsoft earlier in the year.
Senior Minister Heng emphasised the importance of inter-agency cooperation, stating, “CIDeX is a platform where we bring together many agencies throughout the government to come together to learn how to defend together.” He highlighted the collective effort involving 26 agencies and over 200 participants, acknowledging the significance of unity in cybersecurity.
Dr Janil echoed this sentiment, emphasising CIDeX’s role in the Whole-of-Government (WoG) cyber defence effort. He remarked, “Defending Singapore’s cyberspace is not an easy task, and it is a team effort.”
He commended the strong partnership between the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore and the Digital and Intelligence Service, recognising the exercise as a crucial element in strengthening the nation’s digital resilience and national cybersecurity posture.
By leveraging collaboration, innovation, and a robust defence strategy, Singapore aims not just to protect its critical infrastructure but to set a global standard in cybersecurity practices.
CIDeX 2023 serves as a compelling embodiment of Singapore’s unwavering dedication to maintaining a leadership position in cybersecurity practices. This strategic exercise underscores the nation’s commitment to cultivating collaboration and fortifying its resilience against continually evolving cyber threats.
Beyond a training ground for sharpening the skills of cyber defenders, CIDeX 2023 encapsulates the government’s profound commitment to adopting a robust, collaborative, and forward-thinking approach to safeguarding the integrity and security of the nation’s critical infrastructure in the dynamic landscape of the digital age.
The Cyberport Entrepreneurship Programmes’ 20th Anniversary Celebration and Graduation Ceremony was a major event attended by notable personalities, distinguished guests and budding innovators.
Cyberport is Hong Kong’s digital technology flagship and incubator for entrepreneurship with over 2,000 members including over 900 onsite and close to 1,100 offsite start-ups and technology companies. It is managed by Hong Kong Cyberport Management Company Limited, wholly owned by the Hong Kong SAR Government.
With a vision to become Hong Kong’s digital technology hub and stimulate a fresh economic impetus, Cyberport is dedicated to cultivating a dynamic tech environment. This commitment involves nurturing talent, encouraging youth entrepreneurship, aiding startups, fostering industry growth through strategic partnerships with local and international entities, and driving digital transformation across public and private sectors, bridging new and traditional economies.
Professor Sun Dong, the Secretary for Innovation, Technology, and Industry, Hong Kong highlighted Cyberport’s incredible journey and the achievements of its vibrant community. Expressing his delight in commemorating Cyberport’s two-decade-long legacy, he emphasised the institution’s pivotal role as an ICT powerhouse in Hong Kong.
From its humble beginnings to its present stature, Cyberport has emerged as a catalyst for innovation, nurturing over 2,000 technology companies and startups and showcasing an exponential growth rate over the past five years.
Cyberport’s community has attracted a staggering US$38 billion of investment, marking its significance as an ICT flagship in Hong Kong. The establishment takes pride in its contribution to nurturing numerous innovative ideas and fostering dynamic business ventures, with seven notable unicorns in fintech, smart living, and digital entertainment sectors.
Cyberport excelled at the prestigious Hong Kong ICT Awards, with 25 startups securing 28 accolades, including the esteemed Award of the Year. This achievement showcased the institution’s exceptional calibre and innovation prowess nurtured within its ecosystem.
Acknowledging the pivotal role of startups in Cyberport’s success story, Professor Sun Dong shared how these young enterprises, often starting with a simple idea at a small table, grow in tandem with Cyberport’s support. The institution provides not just financial aid but also a nurturing environment where entrepreneurs can leverage extensive networks, collaborative spaces, and expert guidance to cultivate their ideas into commercial successes.
The graduation of more than 200 startups from the Entrepreneurship Programme stood as a testament to Cyberport’s commitment to fostering entrepreneurial talent. This initiative empowers startups to translate their ideas into tangible commercial solutions and market breakthroughs, laying the foundation for their future success.
Looking ahead, Professor Sun Dong outlined Cyberport’s exciting plans, including the upcoming expansion block slated for completion in two years, aimed at providing additional space for the community’s development. He also highlighted Cyberport’s initiative to establish the Artificial Intelligence Supercomputing Centre, a pioneering endeavour set to commence in 2024, envisioned to be a pioneering and substantial facility in Hong Kong.
Cyberport’s extraordinary journey showcases significant achievements while charting a promising future, embodying the core values of innovation, collaboration, and collective growth.
Professor Sun expressed gratitude on behalf of the Government, acknowledging their hard work and contributions to the tech ecosystem emphasising the importance of collective participation for a better future.
The vibrant success of events like the Cyberport Venture Capital Forum 2023 resonates with Cyberport’s commitment to fostering innovation and collaboration, further cementing its role as a catalyst for technological advancement and entrepreneurial growth in Hong Kong.
The Cyberport Venture Capital Forum (CVCF) 2023 saw a turnout of over 2,500 participants during its two-day hybrid event. Themed “Venture Forward: Game Changing through Innovation,” the forum convened 80 global visionary venture experts, entrepreneurial pioneers, and influential thinkers. With more than 120,000 page views and over 300 fundraising meetings facilitated, it solidified its position as a pivotal platform fostering networking and collaborative opportunities.
In a significant stride towards technological innovation and sustainable development, the Department of Scientific & Industrial Research (DSIR) and The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) have joined forces to revolutionise India’s construction and wastewater treatment sectors.
This pioneering collaboration under the “Access to Knowledge for Technology Development and Dissemination (A2K+) Studies” Scheme of DSIR is aimed at aligning with India’s Smart Cities Mission and its ambitious commitment to achieving net-zero emissions by 2070.
DSIR’s allocation of two crucial research studies to TERI signifies a pivotal step in bridging the informational gap on advanced building materials, designs for energy efficiency, and the assessment of membrane-based sewage wastewater treatment systems for reuse and recycling.
A significant milestone in this partnership was marked by a high-profile Stakeholder Consultant Meeting held at the prestigious India Habitat Center in New Delhi. Attended by key decision-makers, esteemed experts from academia, industry leaders, and policymakers, this event became a platform for insightful discussions and collaborations.
Dr Sujata Chaklanobis, Scientist ‘G’ and Head of A2K+ Studies at DSIR, emphasised the importance of promoting industrial research for indigenous technology development, utilisation, and transfer in her address. Her words underscored the crucial role of research and innovation in fostering sustainable technological advancements.
Mr Sanjay Seth, Senior Director of TERI’s Sustainable Infrastructure Programme highlighted India’s commitment to carbon neutrality by 2070. He stressed the imperative integration of cutting-edge technologies and innovative designs in buildings to significantly reduce energy consumption, a key step towards a sustainable, low-carbon future.
The first session of the consultation centred on leveraging emerging technologies and innovative solutions for advanced building design to enhance energy efficiency. Experts from various domains provided insightful suggestions and information, fostering dialogue on energy-efficient building designs and sustainable construction practices.
The second session delved into the current status and prospects of membrane technologies in India for sewage treatment. Insights from academia, including professors from prestigious institutions, shed light on research gaps and opportunities for commercialisation in the domain of membrane-based technologies.
Industry experts also provided valuable perspectives on the current membrane market, innovations, and opportunities, creating a comprehensive understanding of the landscape and paving the way for future developments.
The amalgamation of insights from academia, industry, and end-users enriched the discussions, providing a roadmap for future innovation and development in these critical sectors. The event culminated with a commitment from both DSIR and TERI to embark on an innovation journey, heralding a sustainable and resilient future for India.
The DSIR-TERI collaborative consultation stands as a beacon of transformative progress in advancing sustainable building practices and sewage treatment technologies. It underscores the power of partnership in driving technological evolution for a more sustainable tomorrow.
India’s ambitions intertwine technological progress with a steadffast commitment to sustainability, envisioning a future where innovation not only drives economic growth but also champions environmental stewardship.
Through strategic initiatives and cooperation, India aims to leverage cutting-edge technologies to address pressing global challenges, ensuring a harmonious balance between technological advancement, environmental preservation, and societal well-being.
NITI Aayog, in collaboration with CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency, initiated the India Australia Rapid Innovation and Startup Expansion (RISE) Accelerator under the Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) to bolster circular economy startups from both countries, fostering innovation and entrepreneurship.
The Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur (IIT-Kanpur) and the African-Asian Rural Development Organisation (AARDO) jointly organised an international training programme, focused on exploring the application of nanotechnology in promoting plant growth and crop protection for sustainable agriculture.
According to an IIT-Kanpur statement, the programme served as a forum for experts from diverse fields to discuss and deliberate on solutions to meet the urgent global challenge of achieving food security and promoting sustainability in agriculture.