Singapore To Have Grids As A Utility For All Enterprises

6 June 2007 - Opening Speech By Mr Leong Keng Thai, Deputy Chief Executive/Director-General (Telecoms), Infocomm Development Authority Of Singapore At GridAsia 2007, The Biopolis.

Opening Speech By Mr Leong Keng Thai, Deputy Chief Executive/Director-General (Telecoms), Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore At GridAsia 2007on 6 June 2007, The Biopolis.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
Good morning.

1. I am happy to be here today, for the opening ceremony of GridAsia 2007. This is the third mega conference held since it began in 2005. It is a pleasure to see that with each year, the event gathers a growing crowd. This signals that businesses are increasingly interested in Grid technologies.

Our Vision: Grid For All

2. Indeed, today, high computing needs are no longer the preserve of the R&D community. Animated movies like “Shrek”, “Shark Tale” and “Madagascar” are made possible only because of Grid-enabled utility rendering service. In the financial realm, banks and insurance companies rely on high-performance computing to run risk analysis and actuarial calculations. In healthcare, grids help specialists to manage, extract and generate new knowledge outcomes from huge amounts of clinical data at faster speeds and lower costs.

3. The Grid model promises optimum utilisation of IT resources and tremendous cost savings for businesses. Hence, in the near future, this nascent technology will be required by many more businesses as a critical resource to help them stay ahead of competition. We are keen for pervasive adoption of Grids among our enterprises. Pay-per-use Grids are essential in realising a future where no one is denied high-performance computing and huge storage capabilities. Computing, storage and software are ideally delivered as services, much like utilities such as water and electricity, so that no one, especially SMEs, need to worry about hefty investments in order to leverage Grids for greater innovation and growth. 

Grid For All: Singapore is On Track

4. Singapore is progressing well towards its vision of “Grids for all”. According to the Oracle Grid Index IV report released in June 2006, more than 60 per cent of the organisations polled here have implemented or are likely to implement Grid Computing.

5. Let me elaborate a little more on how Grid, though still a relatively young technology in the region, has shown good progress in revolutionising the way things are done in some of Singapore’s key economic sectors.

6. For instance, in the digital media sector, our SMEs have successfully completed several commercial animation rendering projects through the use of the utility-based remote rendering service by Frontline Technologies. In fact, some SMEs have even internationalised with the help of Utility Computing. Through the National Grid Pilot Platform, SMEs such as Omen Studios and TheContentCompany are able to undertake larger-scale animation projects and have successfully marketed their services in the U.K and the U.S. The National Grid Pilot Platform was launched by the National Grid Office in 2003 to provide compute resources to businesses for free, so as to catalyse adoption. I am happy to share that from 250 CPUs when it first started, the National Grid Pilot Platform has grown to boast capabilities of nearly 1,000 CPUs today.

7. Institutes of Higher Learning and digital media companies will be further pleased to know that a fully working digital media grid prototype has been jointly developed by Nanyang Technological University, the Institute of High Performance Computing, Singapore Management University, and Hewlett Packard Labs, as part of the Adaptive Enterprise@Singapore collaboration. Companies can now leverage the prototype to enjoy on-demand rendering capabilities for their animation and 3D modeling work. This prototype is being showcased right here at GridAsia as well, and I would like to take this opportunity to invite keen users to experience it.

8. Grids are not just limited to being essential tools for enterprises, but can also be valuable learning-enablers for students. PC Grids in schools will open up high-performance computing to students and allow them to explore more complex digital media and life sciences projects. To date, efforts to establish PC Grids in several schools, such as Hwa Chong Junior College and Raffles Institution, have already started.

9. The public sector is another early adopter of Grid technologies. For instance, in October 2006, the National Library Board announced that they have archived more than 1000 websites. The conventional approach of using a single CPU would have taken them 5 months. This same archival was done within just seven days, using compute-capabilities from the National Grid Pilot Platform. I understand that the National Library Board will next be exploring more ways to leverage Grid technologies to facilitate the archiving of more web content.

10. With key economic sectors and our enterprises edging towards pervasive Grid adoption, it has helped Singapore to gain international repute as a Grid and Utility Computing hub. For instance, in 2005, Singapore was chosen to be the site for Oracle’s first Centre of Excellence for Grid Computing in Asia. In 2005, Singapore also became the first Southeast Asia node within the Global Operational Grid. This Large Hadron Collider Computational Grid now comprises 100 sites in 31 countries, which are contributing storage and compute resources for global research projects.

11. Today, we continue to play a key part in global Grid efforts. Singapore is currently leading APEC economies to collaborate on Grid projects that benefit the region. For example, we are exploring collaboration in common areas of interest such as using access grids to enhance distance-learning, harnessing data grids to facilitate the archiving of digital assets, and exploiting PC grids to enable the solving of common computational problems. Collaboration and project details are currently being worked out and we will be glad to share them with you when they are finalised.

12. There is also more on the international front, beyond the APEC TEL Grid initiative. Just two days ago, on the 4th of June, the Singapore Grid Forum, together with the Open Grid Forum, held a successful meeting with regional countries which are keen on forming their own Grid Forums. Singapore is the first country in Southeast Asia to establish a Grid Forum, and I am happy to announce its official launch today. Through the Singapore Grid Forum, those keen on Grid can find it easier to band together, exchange pointers, participate in Grid Computing activities, and explore collaboration opportunities. The event on the 4th of June is a start, and Singapore is glad to be able to share its Grid journey with like-minded countries. We can expect more activities by the Singapore Grid Forum in the future, and I hope that all of you will continue to give it your support.

IDA to Catalyse Grid Adoption by Enterprises

13. Moving forward, besides focusing on international Grid collaborations, IDA is also keen for more industries and more enterprises to reap the IT cost savings and benefits that Grid Computing promises.

14. To achieve this, the National Grid Office has been transferred to IDA since 1 April this year. This will allow IDA, in our role as an infocomm industry developer, to facilitate enterprises to adopt Grid, while A*STAR continues to champion research efforts to advance Grid technologies. 

15. Besides being led by the IDA-A*STAR Steering Committee, the National Grid Office will now also glean inputs from a newly formed think-tank called the National Grid Advisory Council. The Council, which comprises key stakeholders such as Grid users, providers and researchers, will contribute their ideas towards Singapore’s Grid vision, and ensure that our strategies are in step with our economy’s needs.

What’s Next: A Public-Private Sector Effort to Advance Grid

16. Under the new structure, a key focus for the National Grid Office in 2007 will be to put in place a commercial grid infrastructure in Singapore. This “National Grid” will realise Utility Computing and give commercial industries on-demand access to Grids. It will bring high performance computing, software-as-a-service, and huge storage capabilities to businesses, especially SMEs who may otherwise not be able to afford them.

17. Building a Grid-powered nation requires a concerted national effort, and we seek a close partnership with you. As how we have been working with industry players like Oracle, Sun Microsystems, Hewlett Packard, and IBM, we continue to invite technology and solution providers to join the IDA in reaching out to the various commercial sectors. We welcome your proposals on industry-specific programmes that will help the respective sectors adopt Grid. We would also like to encourage the independent software vendors who are keen to offer their software on a utility pricing basis to make it a reality. It will be an exciting road ahead, with lots of new opportunities to be realised.

18. Before I end, I would also like to take this opportunity to thank GridAsia’s corporate sponsors, Hewlett Packard, Sun Microsystems, Oracle and PTC Systems, who have made the event possible. Their generous contributions have enabled us to waive the registration fees for attending this mega-event. We also acknowledge A*STAR’s kind contribution of providing the Biopolis facilities for this event.

19. On this note, it is my pleasure to now declare GridAsia 2007 officially open. I wish everyone a fruitful time at the event.

20. Thank you.

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