Wanted: Sensitive New Age...Robot

01 July 2020 Department of Information Systems & Analytics , Faculty , Research , Feature , Intelligent Systems

Today’s virtual assistants and smart devices have come a long way. They can tell you if you’re running low on milk, what the weather will be like tomorrow, or change the TV channel without you having to lift a finger. But if researcher Desmond Ong has his way, the Google Homes and Alexas of the future might be able to add another attribute to their already impressive resume — emotional intelligence.

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When cloud providers pool and throttle to win the race

15 June 2020 Department of Information Systems & Analytics , Faculty , Research , Feature , Media , Digital Transformation, Platforms & Innovation

When Yingda Zhai was working on his PhD in Austin, Texas, he used to stroll through the neighbourhood he lived in not too far from campus. On these walks, he saw something that puzzled him, something that would set the course of his research for the next few years.

What Zhai noticed was this: his neighbourhood wasn’t that well-to-do, and lining the streets were shops like MetroPCS, Cricket Wireless, and FamilyMobile. These small cell phone companies, also known as mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs), offered cheap plans without any contracts or credit checks. But the snag was that they came with slower connection speeds, smaller network coverage, and without features such as phone tethering.

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Vanquishing smartphone zombies with EYEditor

01 June 2020 Department of Computer Science , Faculty , Research , Feature , Media

If you have been to parts of Orchard Road or Bugis Junction, two busy shopping streets in Singapore, you might have noticed something unusual. There, familiar “traffic light men” flash red and green to help guide pedestrians safely across the road. But these are also accompanied by matching LED strips on the ground.

In recent years, Singapore and a handful of other cities, including Sydney, Tel Aviv, and Augsburg, have embedded lights into pavements at busy intersections as an additional safety measure for pedestrians. Ilsan in South Korea has gone even further, employing flickering lights and laser beams at road crossings to warn walkers of the dangers ahead.

Whatever the means, their target is the same: the heads-down tribe of smartphone zombies — people who walk around perpetually glued to their mobile device.

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Always one step ahead: Robo-Chef predicts steps of recipes it’s never seen before

14 May 2020 Department of Computer Science , Faculty , Research , Feature , Artificial Intelligence

To understand the work she does, Angela Yao says to imagine a future where robot helpers are commonplace. Whether they’re workplace assistants, companions, or domestic helpers, robots need to be able to do one crucial thing, says the assistant professor from NUS Computing.

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Human-centred explainable AI: Helping people to faithfully interpret machine learning with less mental effort

30 April 2020 Department of Computer Science , Faculty , Research , Feature , Media

These days, artificial intelligence (AI) is everywhere we look. It’s what powers predictive searches on Google, enables Spotify and Amazon to recommend new songs and products, puts self-driving vehicles on the road, helps doctors to quickly diagnose diseases…the list goes on. With the presence of AI growing ever larger in our lives, so has the need for us to trust it.

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Visualising Algorithms with a Click

02 April 2020 Department of Computer Science , Faculty , Feature , Algorithms & Theory

It was July 2011 in Pattaya, Thailand. While guiding the Singaporean team at the International Olympiad for Informatics (IOI), Dr Steven Halim was struck by an idea to improve the teaching of algorithms to students—by creating a website where many different algorithms can be learnt through animation.

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Humans, Robots, and the Trust that binds them

12 March 2020 Department of Computer Science , Faculty , Research , Feature , Artificial Intelligence

Like so many parts along the Californian coast, Honda Point is breathtakingly beautiful. People go to visit, but when they do, it’s not for the views.

Rather, they go to remember one of the darkest days in U.S. Naval history, when seven destroyers ran aground and twenty-three sailors perished. Lieutenant Commander Donald T. Hunter, who was in charge of navigating the ships from San Francisco to San Diego that day, relied primarily on the centuries-old technique of dead reckoning. A more accurate method called radio direction-finding (RFD) had been invented two years earlier, but Hunter was mistrustful of the new technology — a decision that would ultimately prove fatal.

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Online gifting and why we do it

04 March 2020 Department of Information Systems & Analytics , Faculty , Research , Feature , Data Science & Business Analytics , Digital Transformation, Platforms & Innovation

For many of us, the introduction of Facebook, WhatsApp, and other social media platforms was a game-changer. They altered the way we make and maintain friends, and transformed how we share news and updates with those we know. But for those in South Korea and a few other places, social media has brought about changes in another aspect of life: how gifts are sent and received.

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Lost in masses of clinical data? Help is here

28 January 2020 Department of Information Systems & Analytics , Faculty , Research , Feature , Data Science & Business Analytics , Healthcare Informatics , Intelligent Systems

The intensive care unit where Dr. Jean-Daniel Chiche works in Paris is what you would expect from an ICU. Amidst an atmosphere of respectful quiet and hushed tones lie patients in isolated rooms, often tethered to a bewildering array of tubes, wires, monitors and machines.

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Let’s maximise influence, but in a fair way

23 January 2020 Department of Computer Science , Research , Feature , Artificial Intelligence

A few years ago, Yair Zick was attending a conference in Stockholm when he struck up a conversation with two researchers from the University of Southern California (USC). Zick, a computer scientist from NUS Computing, was investigating how the concepts of fairness and diversity could be applied to allocating public housing flats in Singapore. The USC researchers, Bryan Wilder and Milind Tambe, were interested in Zick’s work because they were trying to solve a resource allocation problem of their own.

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Move over Alfred, there’s a new butler in town

27 December 2019 Department of Computer Science , Alum , Research , Feature , Artificial Intelligence

A child wearing a red ski-suit

The shiny, black robotic arm gleamed as it whirred into action and ‘waved’ at us, accompanied by Alexa’s robotic, yet (somehow) cheery, disembodied greeting, “Hello! My name is MICO.” Mohit Shridhar stretched his lanky frame across the counter to place plastic replicas of a few everyday objects—a red bowl, an apple, and a banana—on the white tablecloth in front of MICO. Then Shridhar instructed, “Alexa, tell MICO to pick up the apple.” The robotic arm contorted and whirred until it held its gripper over the apple. “Do you mean this?” Alexa asked. “Alexa, tell MICO to go ahead,” Shridhar confirmed. MICO obediently, albeit mechanically, lowered its gripper and picked up the apple.

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Lost? Eyes in the sky can tell you where you are

19 December 2019 Department of Computer Science , Faculty , Research , Feature , Artificial Intelligence , Media

No matter how many times you’ve flown, sitting at the window seat and watching the world shrink away from view as the plane takes off never seems to grow old. Towering trees and skyscrapers become mere pixels, roads and rivers now thin winding ribbons, and vast tracts of land appear as tiny thumbnails below.

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Research breakthroughs presented at ICIS 2019

18 December 2019 Department of Information Systems & Analytics , Faculty , Feature , Data Science & Business Analytics , Healthcare Informatics , Computational Social Science

From investigating the probability of losing jobs to artificial intelligence (AI), to the benefits of pop-up ads—here are the recent research breakthroughs by the Department of Information Systems and Analytics, presented at the International Conference on Information Systems (ICIS) 2019.

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The holy grail of seamless systems integration

06 December 2019 Department of Information Systems & Analytics , Faculty , Research , Feature , Digital Transformation, Platforms & Innovation , Intelligent Systems

Hospital visits can be complicated things. Sometimes it starts out as a visit to the outpatient clinic, where a doctor draws blood or orders some scans to investigate your niggling concern. He phones you the following week with the results — they don’t look good — and schedules a minor operation. You get admitted, have the procedure, and get discharged with tablets and therapy to follow up.

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Making Bitcoin Safer — By Breaking It

25 November 2019 Department of Computer Science , Faculty , Research , Feature , Security

In Greek mythology, Erebus is the primeval god of darkness, son of Chaos. It’s also the region of the underworld, where souls pass through after dying. The word is so evocative of gloom and shadows that naming one of the most dangerous types of Bitcoin attacks after it seems only fitting.

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Here’s to better apps for all of us

12 November 2019 Department of Information Systems & Analytics , Faculty , Research , Feature , Digital Innovation in the Service Economy

This is a scenario that’s probably familiar to many of us: You touch down at your long-awaited holiday destination, collect your luggage, and step outside the airport, raring to go. Now you need to find your way to the Airbnb, so you whip out your phone and plug the address into Google Maps. Or Apple Maps, or Waze, or MapQuest, or Maps.Me, or HERE WeGo.

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Quicker MRIs in the future? Machine learning can help

02 October 2019 Department of Computer Science , Faculty , Feature , Algorithms & Theory , Artificial Intelligence

If you’ve ever had an MRI done, you would know that it’s not the most comfortable experience. They can make you feel claustrophobic, you’ll often hear loud thumping or tapping noises, and you might have to hold your breath a couple of times. But for most people, the hardest thing about getting an MRI, or magnetic resonance imagining, scan is being forced to stay completely still — sometimes for up to 90 minutes at a time.

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Helping computers see the world in 3D

09 September 2019 Department of Computer Science , Student , Feature , Artificial Intelligence

It is no simple feat to have a research paper accepted at a top tier computer science conference – let alone to achieve this as an undergraduate student. For recent Computer Science graduate Tang Yew Siang, what started out as an opportunity to learn about research turned into an accepted paper at the International Conference on Computer Vision (ICCV), one of the top computer science conferences.

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There’s power in hierarchy — but not what you expect

27 August 2019 Department of Information Systems & Analytics , Faculty , Feature , Economics of IS

These days, it seems that whenever you’re thirsty and in need of a quick caffeine pick-me-up, there’s always a Starbucks close by — whether you’re running errands locally in the Singapore heartlands of Bedok, or climbing the Badaling section of the Great Wall of China. Starbucks’ ubiquity isn’t just a figment of your imagination, it’s a fact backed by the firm’s latest sales figures.

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The dilemma of an unknown diameter

13 August 2019 Department of Computer Science , Faculty , Feature , Systems & Networking

They say that in the future, vehicles will be able to talk. Not in the way that those in the Pixar movie “Cars” do, but more in the sense of being able to relay and receive information from surrounding vehicles, buildings, traffic lights, and other infrastructure.

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