01 November 2003
Official Launch of National Grid Pilot Platform
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SINGAPORE, 1 November 2003 - The National Grid Pilot Platform (NGPP) is officially launched today by BG (NS) George Yeo, Minister for Trade & Industry. The NGPP is the first phase of a national cyber-infrastructure that links up compute resources in Singapore. The National Grid has the vision of transforming Singapore into a nation where computer resources can be connected together via a high-speed network. Sharing of resources in a secure, reliable and efficient manner by authenticated users for education, commercial, entertainment, R&D, national security and other purposes will improve the economic and technological competitiveness of Singapore. The NGPP is co-funded by the two research councils of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) - Science & Engineering Research Council and Biomedical Research Council, the Defence Science & Technology Agency (DSTA), the Economic Development Board (EDB), the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA), the National University of Singapore (NUS), the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and the Singapore-MIT Alliance (SMA). Three A*STAR's research institutes together with NUS, NTU and SMA have committed to share their technical computing resources on the NGPP. Today, the 1 Gbps high-speed network connects A*STAR's research institutes and the two main universities, making available over 200 CPUs that provide about 750 Giga FLOPS (750 billion FLoating point Operations per Second) of heterogeneous computing resource for sharing. Mr. Peter Ho, Chairman of the National Grid Steering Committee and Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Defence said: "There is a growing demand for advanced computing resources, as our technology advances and more complex computational systems are developed. This Pilot Platform will provide the infrastructure that allows companies and researchers to solve problems beyond the capacities of their in-house computing resources. The National Grid will enhance the technological edge of Singapore and attract more high value R&D investments." Nobel Laureate Dr Sydney Brenner, Deputy Chairman of National Grid Steering Committee and Chairman of the Biomedical Research Council of A*STAR commented: "We need to continuously look ahead to be ready for next wave to maintain Singapore's position as a technologically progressive connected hub The National Grid recognises the potential of networked distributed computing and resources. It is the solution that would enable efficient resource utilisation and sharing to fully exploit the connected virtual community" Several Grid Computing applications are in use today. They include - -System for geo-rectification of satellite images for environmental monitoring (developed by Atsuma Technology and the Centre for Remote Imaging & Signal Processing at NUS); -Distributed computer-assisted cel animation system (developed by NTU); -Distributed dissipative particles dynamics simulation (developed by SMA, NUS and Institute of High Performance Computing); -Distributed simulated flow over dimpled surfaces (developed by SMA and IHPC); and -GridBLAST for similarity matching of genomic sequences (developed by the Bioinformatics Institute) (Pls refer to Annex 3 for detailed information on these grid computing applications) Collaborations with industry partners have been established to extend the grid resources to them. For example, IHPC is collaborating with BAE Systems, Rolls- Royce and several UK research institutions to perform engineering simulation of complex systems and engines. Local interest in the grid is also displayed by the partnership between ST Engineering, IBM and IHPC to develop a testbed to demonstrate the feasibility of Grid Computing to virtualize technical computing resources to geographically distributed design and engineering units. For biomedical arena, Bioinformatics Institute (BII) has also formed a partnership with University of California, San Diego and San Diego Supercomputing Centre, to develop an "Encyclopedia of Life" (EOL). The research collaboration is conducted using grid computing. EOL will catalog the database of complete proteome of every living species, allowing calculation of 3D models and assignment of biological functions for all recognisable proteins. This system will enable efficient data management and exchange and allow novel queries from users. Professor Peter Cowley, Chief Scientist of Research and Technology, Rolls-Royce plc., said "IHPC has World Class Computing facilities and they have very capable and helpful staff. Rolls-Royce is interested in research where there is a clear route to industrial implementation and Singapore has an excellent reputation for linking research activities to business needs. In the case of our collaborative work on intelligent agents to support diagnostics and repair scheduling, we hope eventually to link the technology with 'real world' repair and overhaul activities. Across all these activities, the Grid will help us to work more closely with global partners starting with research on the use of Grid technology itself, and eventually looking at more general applications." The NGPP has also received strong support from the ICT vendors. Cisco, Starhub, Singapore Computer Systems, Dell, IBM, HP, and Sun Microsystems have contributed equipment and services worth several million dollars. The National Grid operates under a consultative and participative model. It welcomes the participation of stakeholders and partners to realize a Grid-enabled economy in Singapore. The next phase of the National Grid will include improving the security, quality of service and Grid services on the NGPP as well as extending connectivity to other institutes of higher learning (such as the polytechnics), industry, schools, and hospitals.

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