ITI, CSL Help Conceive State-of-the-Art Research Center in Singapore
FUSIONOPOLIS, SINGAPORE – Driven by the efforts of Illinois engineering faculty, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the Agency for Science, Technology and Research, or A*STAR, a Singapore government agency, signed a $50 million agreement that will establish a new research center in Singapore. The Advanced Digital Sciences Center will be focused on breakthrough innovations in information technology that are expected to have a major impact in transforming human beings' utilization of information technology.
"This partnership amplifies an Illinois tradition of international activities and builds on our considerable legacy in information technology," said Richard Herman, the U. of I. chancellor. "It is a marriage of great strengths here and in Singapore, and we believe it will serve as a focus of creativity and innovation in service to society."
The project was conceived by researchers in the Information Trust Institute and Coordinated Science Laboratory, world-renowned multidisciplinary IT research units within Illinois' College of Engineering. ADSC will be led by the College of Engineering, will be jointly managed by ITI and CSL, and will involve faculty from the Electrical and Compter Engineering and Computer Science Departments and other departments across the Illinois campus.
Benjamin W. Wah, the Franklin W. Woeltge Endowed Professor in the department of electrical and computer engineering and an affiliate in the department of computer science, CSL, and ITI, has been selected as ADSC's inaugural director. Ravi K. Iyer, vice chancellor for research at Illinois, and William H. Sanders, director of ITI and acting director of CSL, will serve as co-directors.
ADSC's signature project will be the Human Sixth Sense Program – research to develop information technology infrastructure and human-machine interfaces that will enable humans to interact naturally with the digital world, giving them the information they want, when, where and how they need it. The program will enable computers to have a "sixth sense" about the type of information users are seeking. For example, the project could support a nationwide emergency medical record system that is easily accessible to health care workers at any hospital at any time while preserving an individual's privacy. Or, a financial analysis might integrate news from a newscast in a foreign country into financial models back in the home office without jeopardizing the confidential nature of those models.
"In order to achieve success, we must provide hardware and software that is powerful, reliable, and secure," Wah said. "Some of these pieces already exist, but our challenge is to integrate them in a seamless way."
"I'm really excited that ADSC and the Human Sixth Sense Program offer Illinois and Singapore the opportunity to work together on a problem of global significance," said Iyer. "Imagine being able to provide timely, relevant, and accurate multimedia information anywhere and everywhere. That's the goal of this collaboration."
By ADSC's fourth year it will include four permanent faculty members, 14 visiting faculty members, 25 post-doctoral scholars, 40 A*STAR-funded Ph.D. students, and up to five visiting graduate students per year, plus administrative and technical support personnel, in addition to Wah. The culmination of a 15-year relationship between Illinois and A*STAR, ADSC will provide a rich environment that nurtures specialized research teams, fosters interaction with local and multinational companies, and supports the training of graduate students and post-doctoral researchers in Singapore and at Illinois.
"Through this collaboration, Singapore is strengthening our scientific links with one of the best universities in the world," said Lim Chuan Poh, the chairman of A*STAR. "ADSC will bring with it world-class research capabilities and research training capacity in digital sciences to complement the capabilities and capacity that already exist in Singapore."
ADSC will be located in Fusionopolis, a research and development complex in Buona Vista that is intended to catalyze innovation, experimentation, and collaboration in the infocomm and media industries. (Please read sidebar for more information.)
Technology innovations at ADSC are expected to attract industry partners and lead to a self-supporting group of economic spin-offs. UI Singapore Research, a limited liability company authorized earlier this year, will administer the ADSC.
Sanders believes the partnership could produce revolutionary advancements: "Illinois researchers pursue innovation at every level. With this step, we look forward to leaving even larger global footprints in the field of information technology."
Fusionopolis: The new hub for IT research
With its clean lines and futuristic design, Fusionopolis is a towering symbol of Singapore's technology prowess.
The $500-plus million complex, which celebrated its grand opening Oct. 17, will be a hub for entrepreneurs, scientists, and researchers to interact and exchange ideas. Singapore's Agency for Science Technology and Research aims to position it as the global epicenter of infocommunications and media.
Researchers will live and work in the community, which can accommodate between 3,000 and 5,000 people. The complex will also boast seminar and production rooms, a rooftop swimming pool, apartments, and shuttle service, among other amenities.
Fusionopolis was designed by renowned Japanese architect Kisho Kurokawa, who built the complex as a "layered city" with different areas for people to work, live, play and learn.
Source: Business Times.
A*STAR is Singapore's lead agency for fostering world-class scientific research and talent. A*STAR actively nurtures public sector research and development in biomedical sciences, physical sciences, and engineering, with a particular focus on fields essential to Singapore's manufacturing industry and new growth industries. It oversees 22 research institutes, consortia, and centers, and supports extramural research with the universities, hospital research centers, and other local and international partners. A*STAR also sends scholars for undergraduate, graduate, and post-doctoral training at universities. www.a-star.edu.sg
About the Information Trust Institute (ITI):
The Information Trust Institute is a multidisciplinary cross-campus research unit housed in the College of Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. It is an international leader combining research and education with industrial outreach in trustworthy and secure information systems. ITI conducts foundational and applied research to enable the creation of critical applications and cyber infrastructures. In doing so, ITI is creating computer systems, software, and networks that society can depend on to be trustworthy. ITI aims to create a new paradigm for designing trustworthy systems from the ground up and validating systems that are intended to be trustworthy. www.iti.illinois.edu
About the Coordinated Science Laboratory (CSL):
The Coordinated Science Laboratory at the University of Illinois is one of the nation's premier multidisciplinary research laboratories, focusing on information technology at the crossroads of computing, control, and communications. Created in 1951 to address urgent military needs associated with the Korean War, CSL continues to transform society by developing and deploying new technologies in areas such as defense, medicine, environmental sciences, robotics, life-enhancement for the disabled, and aeronautics. www.csl.illinois.edu
Writer: Kim Gudeman, Coordinated Science Laboratory, 217/333-9735, kgudeman AT illinois.edu.
Contacts: Jenny Applequist, Information Trust Institute, 217/244-8920, applequi AT iti.uiuc.edu; and Kim Gudeman, Coordinated Science Laboratory, 217/333-9735, kgudeman AT illinois.edu.
Released October 21, 2008