Singapore and Finland collaborate to fight COVID-19 digitally

A partnership between the national research and education networks of Singapore and Finland will strengthen the use of supercomputers to find treatments and monitor how the COVID-19 pandemic spreads.

“The crisis has underscored the importance of international cooperation in the fight against the virus across the world,” said Dr. Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Singapore, at the announcement of a memorandum of understanding between SingAREN (the NREN of Singapore) and CSC (the NREN of Finland).

“The memorandum signals our intent to accelerate cross-border collaborations, which will benefit the research communities far beyond our shores,” Dr. Balakrishnan added.

High-speed link Singapore-Finland

SingAREN (Singapore Advanced Research and Education Network) is the sole provider of local and international networks dedicated to serving the research and education community in Singapore. SingAREN facilitates high-speed transfers of large datasets across international boundaries for scientific research and enables advanced network technology demonstrations through its international links and high-speed fibre network. The SingAREN Open Exchange (SOE) interconnects client institutions to international research and education networks including Asia, Australia, Europe, and the US, ranging from bandwidths between 1 Gigabit per second (Gbps) to 100 Gbps.

Other partners in the collaboration are the National Supercomputing Centre (NSCC) Singapore and the National University of Singapore. A key element is the exploration of a new high-speed, high-bandwidth fibre-optic link between Finland and Singapore as well as more secure ways of protecting data transfer by using quantum technology.

“The memorandum of understanding (…) reflects the resolve by the High-Performance Computing community to continue cooperation as a tool in fighting global challenges like the current pandemic, and to better prepare us to face the challenges to come,” said Associate Professor Tan Tin Wee, Chief Executive at NSCC.

Green data centre model

The new collaboration will not just target research related to COVID-19. NSCC and CSC are also studying Finnish green data centre models which have the potential to significantly lower data centre power consumption costs – the largest cost component in most data centre – by leveraging climate and renewable energy resources.

“For Singapore, the new collaboration between CSC and the Singapore entities is significant as it could help future-proof Singapore’s High-Performance Computing resources by creating new research links and connectivity to Europe, develop better ways to protect the transfer of data over long distances, and helps us explore new ways to create more efficient and greener data centres,” said Tan Tin Wee.

Published: 09/2021

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