Filtered by: Faculty

Can Mobile Apps Make Us Eat Better and Be Healthier?

06 May 2021 Department of Information Systems & Analytics , Faculty , Feature , Healthcare Informatics

Every decade has an exercise trend or two that defines it. Step aerobics and the Thighmaster were popular in the ‘90s, for instance, while exer-gaming and CrossFit were all the craze in the 2000s. To know what’s trending this decade, look no further than your wrist (or to those around you) — chances are it’ll be adorned with some sort of wearable device, fitness tracker, or smartwatch.

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What does the SolarWinds saga mean for Singapore?

04 May 2021 Department of Computer Science , Faculty , News Media

 

Loose lips sink ships, warned US anti-espionage posters during World War II. It turns out loose code can do a lot more.

The world first caught wind of a massive breach linked to cyber firm SolarWinds last December. The breach was unique not only in its scale, but also in its method of attack. Hackers targeted the very first stop of the entire cyber line of defense: the cybersecurity software.

The compromised software let hackers into thousands of government agencies and companies, sending shockwaves throughout the world. GovInsider spoke with cyber experts to understand what Singapore and its neighbours can learn from the SolarWinds attacks.

What made these attacks particularly insidious was the way it exploited trust in cybersecurity companies, notes Terence Siau, General Manager of Singapore at the global research institution Center for Strategic Cyberspace + International Studies. Many organisations never thought to second guess their security tools, trusting that cyber firms had done their “due diligence”.

But the hackers targeted the software right from the coding stage, sneaking into it as developers built it. Any vulnerabilities would then be passed down to companies, their employees, and even external customers, Siau explains.

“Imagine you’re using an Android phone, and the compromisation comes in from the Android OS,” he says.

Another surprising factor was the scale of these attacks, say Abhik Roychoudhury, Provost’s Chair Professor at the National University of Singapore’s Department of Computer Science, and Liang Zhenkai, who is Associate Professor at the same department.

There were more than 18,000 SolarWinds customers affected, and an estimated 1000 attackers involved, according to Reuters. But it’s likely that we won’t know the full extent of these attacks until much later, Siau says.

First, we need to rethink what makes ‘trustworthy’ software, say Roychoudhury and Liang. “Think of this as extra vigilance – why trust software because it comes from a trusted supplier?” they add.

The second lesson is to prioritise application security, which means making services that run on individual devices more secure. Every device – be it a mobile phone, laptop or IoT sensor – that connects to an organisation’s central network presents an opportunity for attackers to strike.

The bad news is that software for these devices are “most fragile (and poorly written), allowing attackers easy access,” Roychoudhury and Liang note.

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NUS Presidential Young Professor Yang You makes Forbes’ ‘30 Under 30 Asia’ list

23 April 2021 Department of Computer Science , Faculty

23 April 2021 – Assistant Professor Yang You, from the Department of Computer Science, has been named one of Forbes’ ‘30 Under 30 Asia’ – a list that honours 300 trailblazers in various fields under the age of 30.

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Research by NUS Computing faculty and students featured in the Web Conference 2021

23 April 2021 Department of Computer Science , Faculty , Research

23 April 2021 - Thirteen research papers by NUS Computing faculty and students were featured in the 30th Web Conference, which ended today, April 23.

The Web Conference is an annual international conference focusing on the topic of the World Wide Web, and aims to provide the world with a premier forum for discussion and debate about the evolution of the Web, the standardisation of its associated technologies, and the impact of those technologies on society and culture.

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Reuse, Recycle…Recode

22 April 2021 Department of Information Systems & Analytics , Faculty , Feature

 

For an electronic device to ‘know’ what to do, computer programmers need to give it a set of instructions, called code. Writing software programmes can be an immense task — the average Android phone uses 12 million lines of code, Facebook runs on 62 million, and a modern car on 100 million.

Because of the sheer size of code involved, starting from scratch every time you need to write a new programme would be a nightmare. Plus many software utilise similar functions, such as password authentication, copy and paste tools, or parsing a text file. So instead, some software developers employ a neat trick: code reuse, where they take existing code and use it to build new software.

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NFT gains popularity, attention to blockchain technology grows again

14 April 2021 Department of Information Systems & Analytics , Faculty , News Media

 

The term "NFT" (Non-Fungible Token) has become very popular recently, and it has been constantly appearing in news about the sale of artworks. The digital collage image file "Everydays: The First 5000 Days" created by American digital artist Beeple was traded in the form of NFT. Last month, it sold for a record US$69.3 million (approximately S$93.1 million) at the New York auction, shocking the art circle. The buyer turned out to be an Indian blockchain entrepreneur who settled in Singapore.

The Chinese translation of NFT is "non-homogeneous token", also known as "non-fungible token". It is a digital authentication stored in the blockchain. Each NFT has unique identification information, which can be used to represent any physical or virtual objects such as images, recordings, game items, characters, etc. Even if digital objects can be shared or watched online indefinitely, NFT ensures that only one party owns the original product. The concept is similar to buying a famous painting-anyone can buy a copy of a famous painting, but only one person owns the original painting.

Associate Professor Hahn Jungpil, head of the Department of Information Systems and Analytics at the School of Computing, National University of Singapore, said in an interview that the independent authentication function of NFT can derive many usage scenarios. "For example, a virtual item in an online game cannot be traded outside the game. If the game is discontinued, the item will disappear. With NFT, the owner of the virtual item can sell it to people outside the online game."

Blockchain technology is still developing, and there are many challenges that must be overcome, one of which is the huge power consumption. Blockchain requires so-called "miners" to verify transactions, and the process is called "mining", which includes collecting transaction information, verifying and confirming the authenticity of transaction information, etc. Mining requires powerful computer computing functions, so it consumes a lot of power.

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NUS Computing alumnus Professor Shen Heng Tao selected as ACM Fellow

05 April 2021 Department of Computer Science , Faculty , Alum , Research , Database

5 April 2021 - Professor Shen Heng Tao, an NUS Computing undergraduate and postgraduate alumnus (Class of 2000 and Class of 2004 respectively), was named a Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) early this year.

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NUS offers new Masters and PhD programmes in FinTech to boost digital finance research talent and capabilities in Singapore

02 April 2021 Department of Information Systems & Analytics , Faculty , News Media , Press Release , FinTech

 

The National University of Singapore (NUS) will offer two new graduate programmes in digital financial technology (FinTech) in the new academic year, to help build a robust ecosystem of high-quality research talent and capabilities to support the fast-growing financial industry in Singapore. The new Masters and PhD programmes are under the Asian Institute of Digital Finance (AIDF) at NUS, a university-level institute jointly founded by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), the National Research Foundation Singapore (NRF) and NUS. The PhD programme, in particular, is Singapore’s first and only doctoral programme in FinTech.

In these uncertain times, more financial organisations than ever are leveraging FinTech to grow and improve their financial products, and to enable smooth and more innovative interaction with their customers.

“In this golden age of technology, banks are becoming more efficient as more operational processes are being automated by AI, and decision making is assisted by sophisticated data analytics. Such advancement is rapidly reshaping the financial services sector. At the same time, financial institutions are facing rapid market changes and intensified global competition. In-demand skillsets such as competencies in digital technologies and innovation, which our new Masters and PhD programmes are designed to impart, will give our graduates a significant competitive advantage to thrive in the industry,” shared Associate Professor Huang Ke-Wei, Director of Academic Programmes at AIDF, who is also from the NUS School of Computing (NUS Computing).

Masters of Science in Digital Financial Technology

The 1.5-year Masters of Science in Digital Financial Technology is a collaborative programme by AIDF, NUS Computing and NUS Business School.

With an intake of 40 to 50 students, the Masters programme is designed primarily for those who plan to work in financial institutions or FinTech firms as AI software developers, data scientists, FinTech security specialists, or financial quantitative analysts.

The programme also offers elective modules that cover deep computing and finance expertise to help prepare graduates for future challenges in FinTech.

Students will undertake a two-semester long capstone project which is designed to help them pick up in-depth skills and knowledge in a focused area – such as artificial intelligence, machine learning or data analytics – via experiential learning. Students can choose either an academic research project, or a FinTech internship to gain industry work experience that supports the acquisition of practical work skills and self-directed learning.

Please visit here for more information on the Masters programme.

PhD in Digital Financial Technology

The PhD in Digital Financial Technology programme will be hosted jointly by the NUS Graduate School and AIDF. The programme will admit talented students with computing, finance, or STEM background, and it aims to train graduates who can excel with a strong technical foundation and independent research ability for driving financial innovations in academia as well as in FinTech industries.

As this is currently the only FinTech PhD programme in Singapore, graduates of this programme will be uniquely suited to work in the FinTech industry especially in fields where research projects require advanced quantitative techniques. Graduates may also become trainers in educational institutions to groom qualified FinTech manpower for Singapore and beyond.

Please visit here for more information on the PhD programme.

Applications to the new Masters and PhD programmes are now open and interested students should submit their applications before 15 April 2021.

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Aliens, spaceships, and time warps — programming lessons get funky with the Source Academy

01 April 2021 Department of Computer Science , Faculty , Teaching , Feature

 

When computer science freshmen first begin their undergraduate degree at NUS Computing, they’re required to take an innocuous-sounding module called CS1101S. There, they are introduced to the fundamentals of computer programming and, in the process, are transported to a whole new world — one comprised not just of 1s and 0s, but of spaceships and alien planets.

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Professor Alex Siow inducted into Singapore Computer Society’s Hall of Fame

30 March 2021 Department of Information Systems & Analytics , Faculty

30 March 2021 – In recognition of his work in the information and communications technology (ICT) industry, Professor Alex Siow was recently inducted into the Singapore Computer Society (SCS) Hall of Fame at the SCS IT Leader Awards 2020.

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Teaching Hands-On Computer Engineering

19 March 2021 Department of Computer Science , Faculty , Teaching , Feature

 

For Ravi Suppiah, the term “teaching innovation” has never just been some far-off ideal to strive for when one has the time or energy for reflective improvement. Instead, it’s ingrained in everything he does as an educator.

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NUS Computing team wins award for developing national COVID-19 contact tracing app

19 March 2021 Department of Computer Science , Faculty , Student , Alum

19 March 2021 – To help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in Singapore, six NUS Computing students and alumni built a web application last year to improve the speed and accuracy of nation-wide contact tracing.

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Covid-19 tech heroes recognised for racing against the clock to help fight pandemic in S'pore

19 March 2021 Department of Computer Science , Faculty , Student , News Media

 

With new Covid-19 cases spiking into the hundreds daily in May last year, a team from the National University of Singapore (NUS) raced against time to develop a system to help government contact tracers identify close contacts of patients. The high volume of cases had threatened to overwhelm contact tracers, who needed to ensure that those exposed could be quickly identified, tested and isolated to limit further spread of the coronavirus.

Despite their relative inexperience in creating such a large-scale system, the team of six current and former NUS students managed to develop a Web application in under three weeks, with help from the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF). The app collated information from various sources to provide contact tracers with an overview of the patient's movements and the people he was in close contact with.

The NUS team's efforts were recognised on Thursday (March 18) at the IT Leader Awards 2021, which was themed Tech Heroes From Crisis to pay tribute to people who made a significant positive impact on the community through technology during the Covid-19 crisis. The awards were organised by the Singapore Computer Society.

Mr Zhu Hanming, 23, who was the co-team lead of the NUS team, said that the Web app converted an existing contact-tracing process, involving manually updating patient activity in a spreadsheet, into a digital form that could be automatically updated.

This was needed to cope with a large number of Covid-19 cases because the previous manual updating process, from the days of the 2003 severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) outbreak, was incapable of handling the high patient numbers. The app was built off a concept version that SAF had initially developed. SAF had sought the help of NUS Computing Associate Professor Ben Leong in May to create such an app.

Prof Leong then assembled a team from a Computing for Voluntary Welfare Organisations initiative, sponsored by the sovereign wealth fund GIC, which helps voluntary welfare groups build IT systems.

The NUS team comprises five computer science students - four in Year 1 and one in Year 3 - and a computer engineering graduate.

The most difficult challenge they faced was that they had little time to develop a functioning app, said Mr Zhu, a first-year computer science student.

"The time period we had to deploy the app and make any changes to it was overnight.

"We couldn't possibly have the contact tracers wait for us to finish deployment in the day," said Mr Zhu, adding that there were also last-minute changes due to the ever-changing situation on the ground.

But being able to deploy the app in June last year in under three weeks was satisfying for the team and worth the sleepless nights.

"It was incredibly fast for the scale of the application we built," said Mr Zhu.

There were 13 winners for this year's Tech Heroes From Crisis awards.

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NUS Computing's new AI lab awarded S$9.9 million by AI Singapore

17 March 2021 Department of Computer Science , Department of Information Systems & Analytics , Faculty , Research , Artificial Intelligence

 

17 March 2021 - NUS Computing’s new AI lab, the NUS Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (NUSAiL), was recently awarded S$9.9 million in research grants by AI Singapore.

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New Book by Singapore's First CIO Sheds Light to Businesses for Their Digital Transformation Response During the Pandemic

11 March 2021 Department of Information Systems & Analytics , Faculty , News Media

Wiley announces a new book, 'Leading with IT: Lessons From Singapore's First CIO' by Alex Siow, the first Chief Information Officer of Singapore's Housing Development Board (HDB) in 1989, and currently a professor in the School of Computing at the National University of Singapore (NUS) and concurrently Director of the Advanced Computing for Executives (ACE). The book offers the next generation of business leaders and executives working closely with technology practical tips and personal insights for navigating the rapid digital transformation efforts due to the pandemic and thriving the new normal.

This book aims to inform and educate readers on the crucial role that IT plays in organizations and why the C-suite should offer CIOs a seat on the top decision-making body or board. As businesses shift their technology investments to embrace digital transformation, putting CIOs and CTOs at the forefront of digital work transformation is crucial in keeping businesses abreast of new industry developments that pop up every single day.

'Leading with IT: Lessons From Singapore's First CIO' is now available at all major bookstores and online book retail platforms.

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Archipelago — making sure no student is an island

05 March 2021 Department of Computer Science , Faculty , Teaching , Feature

 

Like everyone else, Yuen Jien Soo found himself struggling to adapt when Covid-19 first hit last year. Soo, who teaches operating systems, computer organisation, and software product engineering at NUS Computing, initially found it strange “speaking to himself” without anyone to look at while delivering a lecture. But something else troubled the associate professor even more: students were complaining that online lectures “weren’t engaging” and “didn’t feel like a regular classroom.”

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Find your 'element' to pick the right course and university

22 February 2021 Department of Computer Science , Faculty , Student , News Media

 

In this second of the AskST series on university education, The Straits Times looks at how to pick the right institution and course of study.

Q: It is good to have a choice of six local universities, but what should my son look out for in making the choice, other than ensuring that the university offers the computing degree course he wants to pursue?

A: Computing is a good course to study, given the rise of Industry 4.0, which refers to a new phase in industrial revolution that focuses heavily on interconnectivity, automation, machine learning and real-time data.

Several public universities offer degree courses in computing. So, how do you pick the right one?

First, look at whether your son is able to meet the cut-off score for computing, as it is highly competitive. 

For the National University of Singapore (NUS), which has Singapore's largest intake of students for computing - with more than 1,400 last year - students generally need four As to enter the course.

Having said that, many students, including those at NUS, are admitted into computing despite falling short of the cut-off score.

Often, they demonstrate their aptitude for and interest in the field through other means, be it in the interview process or through some software they may have created.

NUS provost Ho Teck Hua feels it is important to recognise that developments in computing are rapid. Therefore, his advice is to pick a university where teaching and research in the field are at the cutting edge.

How do you ascertain that? One way is to look at the international rankings according to disciplines.

NUS, for example, was ranked ninth in the world last year for computer science and information systems by Times Higher Education and Quacquarelli Symonds (QS), where significant weightage is given to research output.

Your son should study the job and salary prospects for computing graduates in the yearly survey results, which were released on Friday last week. 

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Disney+ won't allow VPN users to access overseas version of video streaming service

16 February 2021 Department of Computer Science , Faculty , News Media , Systems & Networking , Security

 

It may not be possible for some Singaporeans to get their fix of The Mandalorian Star Wars TV series by using technological tricks to watch an overseas version of Disney+, such as before the video streaming service launches here officially on Feb 23. The Walt Disney Company told The Straits Times that in line with the Disney+ subscriber agreement, it does not allow users to access Disney+ using a virtual private network - to bypass geographical restrictions - in a territory where the service is not yet live.

 Associate Professor Liang Zhenkai from the National University of Singapore (NUS) said that when a person uses a VPN, Disney cannot directly detect the overseas clients at the network level.

"These undetected IP addresses used by the VPN service are not easily blocked. If Disney gradually recognises the VPN provider's network, they can block it later," said Prof Liang, who is from NUS' Department of Computer Science.

This could happen if, for example, Disney detects a large number of unrelated users sending in requests from the same IP address, which suggests a delegation service like a VPN service is being used. But Prof Liang said that if the Disney+ app is used for streaming, there are other methods to recognise whether the client is from a different country, such as using the app store's region or global positioning system information of a mobile device.

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More than Assignments: Developing Software for the Real World

15 February 2021 Department of Computer Science , Faculty , Teaching , Feature , Programming Languages & Software Engineering

 

In 2011, Damith Rajapakse was teaching a few modules at NUS Computing when he ran into a problem. Part of his modules comprised an aspect of project work, and he needed a way to evaluate each student’s contribution to their respective projects, so that he could assign grades in a fair manner. But the tools available to Rajapakse weren’t very helpful.

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Research by NUS Computing faculty and students featured in AAAI 2021

05 February 2021 Department of Computer Science , Faculty , Artificial Intelligence

5 February 2021 – Twenty-two research papers by NUS Computing faculty and students are featured in the 35th AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence, which is currently ongoing and will end on February 9.

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