Home' Technology Review : November December 2008 Contents SP
ECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION
Building bridges in science
Universities around the world are bringing
their faculty and departments together in
multidisciplinary research to crack large soci-
etal challenges confronting the globe.
Singapore is moving ahead to foster such
close collaborations with the opening of
Fusionopolis, which is dedicated to science
and engineering research.
"We are well ahead in this experiment,"
says Charles Zukoski, chairman of A*STAR
Science and Engineering Research Council
(SERC). Three of the research institutes
under his charge have moved into Fusion-
opolis: the Institute for Infocomm Research
(I2R), the Institute of
Computing (IHPC), and
the network storage
lab of the Data Storage
The rest will move in
by 2011. These are the Institute of Materials
Research and Engineering (IMRE), the Insti-
tute of Microelectronics (IME), the Singa-
pore Institute of Manufacturing Technology
(SIMTech), and the remaining labs of DSI.
The seventh institute, the Institute of Chemi-
cal and Engineering Sciences, will remain at
Jurong Island, which is just 30 minutes away
This physical move gives Zukoski and
SERC's executive director, Chong Tow
Chong, the opportunity to transform the
research institutes and to regroup them into
core and multidisciplinary labs.
Referring to the growing challenge of
an aging population, Zukoski says, "If you
want to keep your mother at home before
she goes to a nursing home, what does
that mean? You might need ways of com-
municating with the doctor, of getting food
delivered or cooked differently, maybe health
monitoring. Designing that requires data
storage, microelectronics, communication
and more. You need a multidisciplinary team."
"This thrilling experiment is made possible
because we are starting off from a very high
science and technology base built in the last
10 to15 years," says Zukoski of the 1,300
research scientists and engineers in the
seven research institutes he leads.
The achievements by his institutes
include I2R's Advanced Audio Zip (AAZ), an
alternative to MP3 technology that has been
accepted as an ISO standard---a first for Sin-
gapore. Unlike MP3 compressed files which
tend to lose the richness of music recordings
that use a wide signal range, AAZ allows for
files to be stored in compact form and go
back to be as crystal clear as the original.
Another feat is the ultra-low flying femto
slider for extremely high density magnetic
data storage. The technology won DSI the
ment Award---the first
institution outside the
United States to win
"We have a solid track record. With the
range of expertise we have, it is possible to
do experimental, theoretical and computa-
tional projects all under one roof. It makes
the pursuit of science more exciting," says
Lim Chuan Poh, A*STAR chairman, wants
to take this multidisciplinary approach to
cover the life sciences and physical sciences
Standing by the glass wall of a meeting
room on the 21st floor of Fusionopolis, he
gestures toward a group of buildings half a
mile away that hosts A*STAR's 13 biomedi-
cal research institutes and consortia. "That's
He is maximizing this rare proximity
between the life sciences and physical
sciences and engineering by setting up the
A*STAR Cross Council Office to encourage
"Many new breakthroughs are being de-
veloped at the edges of different disciplines.
We have a critical mass of researchers at
Biopolis and Fusionopolis. We want the bar-
riers to fall down and synergies to gush up,"
A*STAR scientists have been enthusiastic
about collaborating, even before their official
move to Fusionopolis and the setting up of
the Cross Council Office.
Since 2007, eighty researchers have come
together to work on technologies for homes
of the future.
Also in the making is an ingestible capsule
We want the barriers
to fall down and
synergies to gush up.
Andrew Ortony's lab at Fusionopolis focuses on computational cognition for social systems.
WWW. TECHNOLOGYREVIEW. COM/SINGAPORE
Links Archive January February 2009 September October 2008 Navigation Previous Page Next Page