Madanmohan Rao reviews Leading with IT: Lessons from Singapore's First CIO, on YourStory.com. Insights and stories on riding the “technology tiger” in an enterprise are well captured in the book, Leading with IT: Lessons from Singapore's First CIO, by Alex Siow. Topics covered include management of IT infrastructure and applications, information processing, knowledge management, data governance, cybersecurity, change management, and organisational culture. The book is written in a compelling storytelling manner, and also integrates research from leading consultancies. A glossary of terms, chronology of events, and reference section would have been a welcome addition to the material.
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Universiti Teknologi Brunei (UTB) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the National Cybersecurity R&D Laboratories (NCL) of the National University of Singapore (NUS) via video conference yesterday. Signing on behalf of UTB was Dean of School of Computing and Informatics (SCI) Dr Mohamad Saiful bin Haji Omar while NUS was represented by Dean of NUS Computing Professor Mohan Kankanhalli.
The Covid-19 crisis in India has escalated in the past month, with the country reporting several hundred thousand new cases per day and the total number of cases surpassing two million on May 4. Hoping to raise money to support efforts in the fight against Covid-19 in India, one Singapore-based couple started a dollar-for-dollar matching crowdfunding campaign that has raised more than S$192,000 from donors around the world in just 11 days. Singaporean permanent residents (PRs) Prantik Mazumdar and Dipti Kamath told Mothership that they started the fundraiser because of deep concern for their family, friends, colleagues, and loved ones living in India. Prantik has been been living in Singapore for 20 years, coming here initially to complete his Bachelor's Degree in Computer Engineering from the National University of Singapore's (NUS) School of Computing. He became a PR in 2007. They decided to provide help from the outside by galvanising and mobilising the Indian diaspora, as well as their friends, colleagues, and network in Singapore, through a campaign on local crowdfunding platform Milaap, which was founded in Singapore by two NUS School of Computing alumni, Anoj Viswanathan and Sourabh Sharma.
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.
One 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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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. 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. 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.
The National University of Singapore (NUS) and Sea Limited (NYSE: SE) (Sea) today announced that Sea has made a corporate gift of S$50 million to NUS to support the advancement of research and education at NUS School of Computing (NUS Computing), one of the world’s leading computing schools. The gift agreement was signed today at NUS Kent Ridge Campus, where Minister for Education Mr Lawrence Wong witnessed the signing as the Guest-of-Honour.
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. 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.
It did not happen exactly with a snap of the fingers. It took consistent years of hard work with nurturing and support by NUS Enterprise for PatSnap to be what it is today – a unicorn in business – a company valued at more than US$1 billion. Its R&D intelligence as well as IP intelligence platforms are used by more than 10,000 customers around the world.
Today, its founders, two NUS Overseas Colleges (NOC) alumni, can proudly proclaim that they have left their fledgling days far behind when they first formed the start-up in 2007. The company now has offices in the US, the UK, Canada, Japan and China. Its close ties with NUS and access to Singapore’s talent eco-system and dense network of industry partners has enabled it to launch an R&D centre in Singapore three years ago.
In fact, founders Mr Jeffrey Tiong (NUS Engineering, Biomedical Engineering) and Ms Guan Dian (NUS Computing, Information Systems), both previous NUS Outstanding Young Alumni Award winners, have just announced that the company has secured US$300 million in Series E funding. This puts them in unicorn territory, which is reserved for start-ups valued over US$1 billion – a first for NUS-supported start-ups.
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.
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.
John Wiley & Sons Singapore Pte Ltd., a global leader in research and education, and the National University of Singapore’s Advanced Computing for Executives (ACE) today announced a partnership to jointly train and certify executives in a range of in-demand technology skills. This partnership will address the need to continually upskill, especially as the world contends with the economic impact of COVID-19.
This series of professional short courses will enable learners to meet the skills demand for long-term career success. The courses, which can be completed in two to three days and will be both instructor-led and self-paced, will be available to all learners globally beginning in April. Courses include:
Driving Innovation through Design ThinkingStory Telling with DataDeveloping Winning User Experiences with UI-UXAnalytics for FinanceAnalytics for Talent Management
“NUS’ Advanced Computing for Executives (ACE) is pleased to collaborate with Wiley to launch the Global Certification Program. We believe that the knowledge and expertise of ACE, combined with Wiley’s global reach and excellent record of delivering quality products, will help deliver much needed training opportunities to IT professionals around the world. It is also in line with ACE’s vision of helping business leaders harness emerging technology to boost business competitiveness,” said Professor Alex Siow, Director of Advanced Computing for Executives (ACE), School of Computing, National University of Singapore.
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.
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.
Life has gotten more digital than ever before. And the plusses of that for the environment has been clear…as in clear skies and clean air. What is not so clear however is this: when it comes to greenhouse gases, the Internet is responsible for 2% of global emissions. If the Internet were a country, it would be ranked as the sixth largest polluter in the world.
But the Internet is here to stay, so what can be done to make it greener? From individuals not hitting Reply All on emails or turning off Auto Play for videos, to data centres running on green energy and search engines giving back to the environment, host Prerna Pant looks at all the various ways we are Greening The ‘Net.
Pant also interviews Assistant Professor Trevor E. Carlson on how Internet usage is contributing to our carbon footprint.
Smart home hubs and Wi-Fi routers from local brands Aztech, HomeAuto Solutions and Prolink are the first technology products to carry cyber-security labels similar to the energy-efficiency labels on home appliances.Sold on e-commerce platforms such as Lazada and Shopee, four products from these three brands have been given the Level 1 rating under the Cybersecurity Labelling Scheme (CLS), which is aimed at helping buyers gauge how exposed they are to risks.The Level 1 rating means the device maker has ensured that there is a unique default password and that software updates are automatically pushed to the products. The CLS - a voluntary tiered rating system administered by the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore (CSA) - was launched in October.Checks by The Straits Times found that the prices of the four CLS-labelled products are comparable to those of non-labelled counterparts. For instance, a single unit of the labelled Wi-Fi router from Prolink costs $150, while one unlabelled Wi-Fi router from TP-Link's Deco X20 line is priced at $149.Experts have, however, said that labelled products could cost markedly more - such as when, for a higher rating, a manufacturer sends its product to an external laboratory to test its resistance to cyber attacks. This is because complying with the requirements for higher ratings involve "significant effort and resources", said Associate Professor Goh Khim Yong from the National University of Singapore's School of Computing.
While some consumers said they would be willing to pay a small premium for a more secure product, most indicated that they would prioritise other factors such as user-friendliness and reliability over cyber security.
As the world embraces the Internet of Things (IoT), more and more everyday appliances are being connected to the Internet so that people can monitor those appliances remotely. While this makes our lives more convenient, there is a looming threat of cybercriminals using these devices to gain access to sensitive data.
Now, scientists from the National University of Singapore’s School of Computing (NUS Computing) have made it easier to guard against that. They have developed a software tool that can simulate hacker attacks, and which provide an automated way to protect the design. This helps designers create more secure computer chips.
The software works by simulating a physical hardware attack known as laser fault injection. To accomplish this on a real device, the cyber-criminal would first partially disassemble the hardware to gain access to its silicon chip without interrupting its operation. Then, they use a laser to generate a processor error. This throws the gates open, allowing them to extract data and security information.
Previously, it was expensive to protect chips against this kind of attack because they had to be tested manually. If the chip fails the test, the design must start over. The NUS software, called the Laser fault Attack Benchmark Suite or LABS, can now simulate attacks in a wide variety of situations and demonstrate how the chip reacts. All this can be done without having to manufacture a single chip. This helps chip designers figure out how to repel the attack, and even trick the attackers into thinking they have succeeded. With this software, chip manufacturers will be able to simulate any device, and results are available within minutes.
The NUS scientists, led by Assistant Professor Trevor E. Carlson and Professor Peh Li Shiuan, have made the software open source so researchers and the chip design community can use it, or help make it better.
Half of Singapore customers admitted that they are not happy with the gifts they have received.
“To prevent such loss in economic value and environmental damage, cash is theoretically the most efficient solution. However, giving cash as a gift is crude, and could be seen as derogatory. Hence, many people have resorted to getting gift cards, which is a convenient way to gift while reducing economic waste. This explains the rapid growth trends in the gift card market,” Gratify CEO & CFO Dao Xiong Teng explains in an email to e27.
But even gift cards are not perfect.
“If we think about it, most people would remove the price tags and the receipts from their gifts before giving them out, so that the dollar value is not so glaringly in-your-face. Yet, ironically, for gift cards, the dollar value is practically the gift itself,” Teng continues. “What we need is a gift that is as flexible as a gift card, but without having the gift value blatantly apparent and crude.”
This is the opportunity that local startup Gratify aims to seize.
Launched earlier this month, the startup builds a platform to enable customers to purchase and send gifts to their loved ones. But what sets them apart from other e-commerce platform is that they provide options for gift recipients to receive, swap the gifts, or donate it to a charity.
The platform works by enabling the customer to choose from a wide array of products on their platform. Once they have checked out and given the recipient’s details, the recipient will be notified and be given the options.
If they choose to not accept the gift, for whatever reason, they can opt to swap it with a more suitable one as available on the Gratify platform. They can also choose to donate the value of the gift to a charity organisation that the startup is partnering with.
The road to university can be difficult for any student, but Mr Ng Jun Kang had to overcome daily challenges that others gave no thought to. Like getting to class, for instance, or taking notes. Or even getting a drink of water.
The 22-year-old first year Computer Science undergraduate at the National University of Singapore has spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy, which was caused by a brain injury during birth.
Although his condition affects his muscle control, motor skills and his speech, it proved no obstacle to his achieving good grades and clinching scholarships. Quite the opposite, he argues.
"My condition has gifted me resilience and patience in everything that I do," he said.
Lettuce, mint and even tomatoes – Singaporeans may soon be able to grow these vegetables and more in their HDB flats.
Having witnessed “a deep psychological fear” when COVID-19 sparked panic buying here, Toby Fong and his team – superFARM – decided to bolster the nation’s food security. Their plan? Encourage green fingers through home-based farming.
“When we think about food security, it’s usually at a national level so it almost feels like the individual (is disconnected) from the entire food security equation,” said Toby, who graduated with a Master’s from NUS Architecture this year.
Under the “Make Our People Better” category, Toby, NUS Computing graduate Lim Hui Qi and NUS Arts and Social Sciences graduate Ong Jun Ren will design modular farming units that can fit into the smallest of homes. These units can also be customised for bigger spaces.
The plan is to transform niche hydroponics systems into functional mini-farms. In the next six months, half of their $50,000 funding will go to research such as field testing and online surveys, while the rest will be used for prototype development.
The team also wants to expand the individual’s role in food security to make sustainability a way of life.
“We want to recalibrate people’s attitude and behaviour to encourage responsible food consumption,” said Toby.
When your robot vacuum cleaner does its work around the house, beware that it could pick up private conversations along with the dust and dirt. Computer scientists from NUS have demonstrated that it is indeed possible to spy on private conversations using a common robot vacuum cleaner and its built-in Light Detection and Ranging (Lidar) sensor.
The novel method, called LidarPhone, repurposes the Lidar sensor that a robot vacuum cleaner normally uses for navigating around a home into a laser-based microphone to eavesdrop on private conversations.
The research team, led by Assistant Professor Jun Han from NUS Computer Science, and his doctoral student Mr Sriram Sami, managed to recover speech data with high accuracy. NUS students, Mr Dai Yimin and Mr Sean Tan Rui Xiang, as well as Assistant Professor Nirupam Roy from the University of Maryland, also contributed to this work.
Mr Sami shared, “The proliferation of smart devices – including smart speakers and smart security cameras – has increased the avenues for hackers to snoop on our private moments. Our method shows it is now possible to gather sensitive data just by using something as innocuous as a household robot vacuum cleaner. Our work demonstrates the urgent need to find practical solutions to prevent such malicious attacks.”'
The core of the LidarPhone attack method is the Lidar sensor, a device which fires out an invisible scanning laser, and creates a map of its surroundings. By reflecting lasers off common objects such as a dustbin or a takeaway bag located near a person’s computer speaker or television soundbar, the attacker could obtain information about the original sound that made the objects’ surfaces vibrate. Using applied signal processing and deep learning algorithms, speech could be recovered from the audio data, and sensitive information could potentially be obtained.
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