(Source – SingHealth)

Singapore’s healthcare to have supercomputer for medical research

  • NSCC, SingHealth and NVIDIA collaborate to develop a research ecosystem of hardware and software tools to support healthcare and medical research at Singapore’s largest public healthcare cluster.
  • These include a new supercomputer and access to advanced software, training and high-performance computing-enabled pre-trained AI models to significantly accelerate large-scale and complex healthcare research.
  • Among the projects in the pipeline include SingHealth’s Artificial Intelligence for Transformation of Medicine Programme (AIMx) for the smart triaging of patients with cardiovascular disease. 

A  supercomputer is primarily used for scientific and engineering work as they require exceedingly high-speed computations. Over the years, use cases for supercomputers have also been developed for other verticals that require high-speed computing.

In Singapore, the National Supercomputing Centre (NSCC) Singapore, SingHealth, and NVIDIA are collaborating to work hand-in-hand to build a complete innovation environment that combines supercomputing infrastructure capabilities, the operating software and AI tools to power advanced research, and healthcare use cases for applying these capabilities and tools.

Developed and deployed by SingHealth and NSCC, the supercomputer will be placed at SingHealth’s Singapore General Hospital (SGH) Campus to support medical research and innovation efforts for the cluster and healthcare researchers from across Singapore. Apart from healthcare, the tools used will also be supporting a variety of research in other fields like climate science and data center operations.

NVIDIA will provide access to its software tools and pre-trained AI models. NSCC’s Supercomputing Digital Sandbox environment is expected to make it easier for researchers not trained in high-performance computing (HPC) to use NSCC’s supercomputer. The supercomputing infrastructure and digital tools provided will enable SingHealth to advance a number of its ongoing medical research and innovation projects that will benefit patient care and improve clinical outcomes.

For Dr. Janil Puthucheary, Senior Minister of State for Communications and Information & Health, and Minister-in-Charge of GovTech the public-private partnerships linking the entire value chain of infrastructure, software, digital tools, and researchers will accelerate scientific outcomes, and in this case, support Singapore’s healthcare and medical services. He said the agreements serve to deepen collaboration and will open up many more possibilities in other fields of medicine, beyond the initial use cases.

Enhancing healthcare with a supercomputer 

 “Supercomputing power is a very critical national resource that is crucial in enabling many research projects that impact the economy and society, now and for the future,” commented Peter Ho, Chairman of the NSCC Steering Committee.

The new Supercomputing Digital Sandbox is also expected to simplify the experience of using HPC resources, especially for researchers who may not possess in-depth HPC knowledge.

Professor Kenneth Kwek, Deputy Group CEO (Innovation & Informatics), SingHealth explained that the adoption of emerging technologies is a game-changer in helping them enhance care delivery and optimize healthcare resources with the goal to improve clinical outcomes and the experience for patients.

“Through this exciting collaboration with NSCC and NVIDIA, supercomputers and software specialized for AI and deep learning will be made readily available and accessible to our colleagues, to aid them in doing breakthrough research and developing new innovations that will transform and shape the future of healthcare,” said Prof. Kwek.

Among the projects in the pipeline include SingHealth’s Artificial Intelligence for Transformation of Medicine Programme (AIMx). AIMx aims to develop AI algorithms for the smart triaging of patients with cardiovascular disease. Using big data comprising clinical data, chest x-rays, and retinal images of patients with symptoms of cardiovascular disease, the AI algorithms are designed to predict a patient’s risk of adverse cardiac events and perform a suitable triage.

The tool could help clinicians prioritize patients with serious cardiac issues for urgent medical attention in emergency settings or identify patients with a higher risk of coronary artery disease in outpatient settings. The benefits of the research include greater efficiency and improved accuracy in the identification of high-risk patients, facilitating timely and life-saving clinical intervention, as well as optimizing the use of precious healthcare resources.

NVIDIA is already known globally for powering many of the world’s supercomputers and HPC systems. In Singapore, NVIDIA will provide access to its software development kits and open-source pre-trained AI models. NVIDIA will also be working with NSCC to provide access to its unique software tools and training to support large-scale and complex HPC-enabled AI research.

Dennis Ang, Senior Director, Enterprise Business, ASEAN and ANZ Region at NVIDIA mentioned that the collaboration with NSCC and SingHealth will help to grow research and innovation in healthcare, as well as other key fields related to climate research and digital twin simulation in Singapore.