Salesforce sets up AI research centre in Singapore

Salesforce AI Singapore
Image courtesy of Ministry of Communication & Information, Singapore.

Cloud software company Salesforce has opened its first artificial intelligence (AI) research centre outside of the US, located in Singapore with the promise to train up to 100 postgraduate students over a three year period.

Singapore has seen significant investments in AI recently from companies such as Alibaba, Huawei, NEC, and local universities.

The first batch of students to be admitted into the centre for training will begin from August 2019, and will be pooled from three local universities, namely, Singapore Management University (SMU), National University of Singapore (NUS), and Nanyang Technological University (NTU).

Training will primarily focus on key areas of interest for the software vendor, including deep learning, machine learning, and natural language processing (NLP). The centre is expected to focus on important areas of research specific to this region, such as language-based capabilities in chatbots, for instance.

The new centre, which will be located at Salesforce’s Singapore office at Suntec City, will be run by Steven Hoi, the Managing Director of Research Asia for Salesforce. “Singapore is a natural choice to set up an AI research hub with its diversity of talent and its world-class universities,” said Richard Socher, Chief Scientist at Salesforce.

The Singapore government has been investing heavily in digital technology and in particular AI, as well as setting up an ethics council to monitor the development of the technology.

A recent investment of $300 million was targeted towards research and development of important technology for Singapore’s competitive around digital technology, but in particular the development of AI. This brings Singapore’s total investment into research and development to $660 million.