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SeSaMe opens door to novel social media apps

18 July 2012

The agreement was signed by (front row from left) NUS Deputy President (Research and Technology) Prof Barry Halliwell, Media Development Authority Interactive Digital Media Programme Executive Director Mr Michael Yap, and Zhejiang University Sci-Tech Academy Executive Vice Dean Prof Chen Kunsong. Witnessing the signing were (back row from left) Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts Permanent Secretary Mr Chan Yeng Kit, Singapore Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, and NUS President Prof Tan Chorh Chuan.

Dr Yaacob and Prof Tan making a stop at the Keio-NUS Connective Ubiquitous Technology and Embodiments Center booth

Using social media for surveillance and monitoring, linking mobile phones to broadcast an event - these are just a couple of many exciting projects the new Sensor-enhanced Social Media Centre (SeSaMe) will be embarking on. The latest International Research Centre (IRC) hosted by the NUS Interactive and Digital Media Institute (IDMI) was formally set up on 16 July with the inking of an agreement by NUS, Zhejiang University and the Media Development Authority (MDA) of Singapore.

Co-headed by NUS Associate Provost (Graduate Education) Professor Mohan Kankanhalli and Zhejiang University College of Computer Science Dean Professor Zhuang Yueting, the Centre will receive S$24 million over five years. Both universities has 10 principal investigators each spearheading the research.

For a start, SeSaMe will work with China-based Internet firm NetEase to link mobile phones in a network to broadcast an event or monitor a location of interest. The project on "ad-hoc cyber-physical network over heterogeneous mobile sensors" will receive about S$2 million from NetEase.

Professor Wu Zhao Hui, Zhejiang University's Vice-President, Development and Planning, Foreign Affairs and Overseas Students, said that the Chinese university looks forward to building up its first overseas research centre's presence in Singapore, which is well-regarded as an interactive digital media (IDM) hub within Asia.

Through IDMI and its affiliated IRCs, there are now more than 400 researchers, 150 start-ups, as well as 22 incubators and accelerators dedicated to the IDM sector within one kilometre of the University campus, said NUS President Professor Tan Chorh Chuan.

"NUS is committed to further building its research strengths in the IDM sector, and with the commercialisation support from industry, we look forward to bringing more IDM research to market," said Prof Tan.

Working towards this was the establishment of separate collaborations by NUS-Extreme Search-Tsinghua (an IDMI IRC) with Beijing Everlasting Health Information Technology, Brandtology and StarHub, respectively.

To promote market adoption of IDM technologies, the University has introduced the NUS Tourism Accelerator Workshop Series. Organised by NUS Enterprise and supported by MDA, eight partnerships between industry and start-ups have been confirmed.