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New Infocomm Training Partnership to Advance Biomedical Sciences Research and Development

For the first time, the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) is partnering the BioInformatics Institute (BII) to nurture manpower in the new emerging technology of Grid Computing. This initiative aims to equip trainees with the skills to participate actively in the deployment of cyber-infrastructure to meet the needs of Biomedical Sciences research and development in Singapore.

Singapore, 1 February 2002 | For Immediate Release

For the first time, the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) is partnering the BioInformatics Institute (BII) to nurture manpower in the new emerging technology of Grid Computing. This initiative aims to equip trainees with the skills to participate actively in the deployment of cyber-infrastructure to meet the needs of Biomedical Sciences research and development in Singapore.

Leveraging IDA's Infocomm Training and Attachment (iTA) scheme, BII is offering 60 trainees the opportunity to participate in its Grid Computing Training/Attachment Programme. Trainees will receive up to one year of on-the-job training which will include participation in projects, research and development (R&D) and possible overseas exchange experience.

Mr Leong Keng Thai, Acting Chief Executive Officer of IDA, said, "Grid Computing has been identified in our Infocomm Technology Roadmap as one of the growth areas for the infocomm industry. This partnership with BII will accelerate the training and development of manpower in Grid Computing which is recognised as a key enabling technology for Biomedical Sciences R&D in Singapore."

"We encourage fresh graduates and infocomm professionals to take advantage of this opportunity to be trained in new emerging infocomm skills which will pave the way for new employment avenues," he added.

Dr Gunaretnam Rajagopal, Acting Director for BII, said, "The joint training initiative marks a crucial start to a broad-based, demanding and rigorous training programme for a carefully selected group of trainees in all aspects of Grid Computing. We want to deploy the best people to implement, manage and grow the cyber-infrastructure underpinning the BioMedical Grid (BMG) The BioMedical Grid (BMG) is a high speed network of shared computing and data storage resources running bioinformatics applications used by biomedical sciences researchers in Singapore, and in collaboration with other R&D centers in USA, Japan and Europe. in Singapore. This will serve to integrate the Biomedical Sciences R&D activities of the BioPolis Located within one-north, the BioPolis is a biomedical sciences hub for companies and research institutes engaging in R&D activities. For more information, please refer to with academia and related industries in Singapore and overseas."

Training Curriculum

The selected trainees for the Grid Computing Training/Attachment Programme will be involved in challenging projects in the areas of high speed networking, telecommunications, High Performance Computing, parallel distributed applications development, cluster computing, security, massive data storage and management and porting and tuning applications Porting and tuning applications refer to the process of adapting and improving certain software programmes so as to make them run faster and more efficiently on computers. on various platforms. In particular, computer security will be one of the key focus areas during the one-year training programme due to the sensitivity of Biomedical Sciences data used in research work.

The first part of the training will involve eight weeks of intensive lectures, seminars and mini workshops. It will cover a wide spectrum of infocomm topics to equip trainees with the latest skills and knowledge in the emerging technologies of Grid Computing. In the second part, trainees will be given the opportunity to be trained and to interact with various leading academic and key players in the infocomm industry.

Dr Guna added, "As part of this training programme, we have made arrangements to invite eminent US scientists in the field of Grid Computing to visit Singapore and share their expertise and experience with the trainees. In addition, after the first two months of training, the trainees will be deployed to project teams both within Singapore as well as overseas for hands-on training."

On successful completion of the programme, outstanding performers may be offered long-term careers with BII or associated research institutes and training organisations.

Selection Criteria for Trainees

The Grid Computing Training/Attachment Programme is open to all Singaporeans and Permanent Residents with aptitude and interest in applying advanced computing to real world problems. Both fresh graduates as well as infocomm professionals are eligible for the programme. Trainees will be selected from a variety of backgrounds, including: physical sciences, mathematics, computing or computational science and various engineering disciplines.

In addition, trainees will enjoy the new, enhanced eligibility criteria for the iTA Scheme. A local company can now qualify to be a sponsoring company A sponsoring company usually initiates the application process by seeking IDA's support in developing the training programme. The sponsoring company is also responsible for identifying the relevant training organisation. The selection of trainees is a joint effort involving both the sponsoring company and the IDA. (previously only multinational corporations based in Singapore can qualify), thus offering trainees more placement opportunities. In addition, the iTA Scheme will now support overseas Master of Science (Infocomm) programmes or short-term study programmes in rapidly developing countries such as China. This new direction will allow Singapore's talent pool to build up a working knowledge of these countries' modus operandi and a network of contacts in the local infocomm field.

Details of the Grid Computing Training/Attachment Programme and application forms can be found at BII's website at Interested candidates should also look out for the recruitment advertisement which will appear in The Straits Times Recruit Section on Saturday, 2 February 2002. Closing date for application is 20 February 2002.

For more details on the iTA Scheme, please refer to the IDA website at, under the section 'Infocomm Training Schemes'.

Issued on behalf of the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore by Edelman Public Relations Worldwide

About Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore

The Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) is a dynamic organisation with an integrated perspective to developing, promoting and regulating info-communications in Singapore. In the fast-changing and converging spheres of telecommunications, information and media technologies, IDA will be the catalyst for change and growth in Singapore's evolution into a vibrant global info-communications technology centre. For more information, please visit

About the BioInformatics Institute (BII)

The BioInformatics Institute (BII), an institute funded by the Biomedical Research Council (BMRC) of Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), has been set up to be the focus of research and teaching in bioinformatics in Singapore. Dr Gunaretnam Rajagopal, formerly the Assistant Director of Research from the Cavendish Laboratory in UK's Cambridge University, was appointed as the Acting Director of the BII from July 2001. For details on the BioInformatics Institute and the BioMedical Grid, please refer to

About the iTA Scheme

Launched in November 2001, the $18m iTA scheme funds project-based capability development in key emerging technology areas through local and overseas training programmes. These technologies which are strategic to the industry include: Grid Computing, Next Generation Wireless LAN, Intelligent Web Services, Wireless LAN 802.11b, XML, Infocomm Security and Java. Tailored to enhance the employability of fresh graduates and infocomm professionals, companies on the iTA scheme receive support in building and enhancing the capabilities of their infocomm manpower.

About Grid Computing

Grid computing (or the use of a computational grid) applies the resources of many computers in a network to a single problem at the same time - usually to a scientific or technical problem that requires a great number of computer processing cycles or access to large amounts of data. Grid computing requires the use of software that can divide and farm out pieces of a program to as many as several thousand computers. A number of corporations, professional groups, university consortiums, and other groups (e.g. the European Community (EU), IBM, National Technology Grid, Sun Microsystems) have developed or are developing frameworks and software for managing grid computing projects.

About the Infocomm Technology Roadmap (ITR)

As one of the engines driving the Infocomm 21 initiative, IDA, in collaboration with key industry vendors and operators as well as academia and research bodies, will be producing technology roadmaps for the local infocomm industry. These roadmaps will chart the trends and developments in technology, standards, industry and application deployment for a future period of up to five years. The purpose of the roadmap is to provide the tracks on which the development of Singapore's infocomm industry should ride on in order to grow the infocomm cluster.

For more information, please contact:

Choong Cheng Theng or Joanne Kwan
Edelman Public Relations Worldwide
Phone: +65 6733 1110
Fax: +65 6733 5550
Email /

Ms Chia Sher Ling
Manager, Corporate Communication
Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore
Tel: +65 6211 1840

Ms Adeline Chua
Senior Officer, Corporate Communications
Agency for Science, Technology and Research
Phone: +65 6837 9159