Introduction

A new Memorandum of Understanding has been signed between The Alan Turing Institute and DSO National Laboratories in Singapore. The agreement will drive research advances in three critical areas affecting society: Countering Mis- and Dis-information; Counter Terrorism; and Humanitarian Aid and Disaster Relief.

Researchers from DSO, Singapore's largest national defence research and development organisation will work in tandem with leading experts from the Turing’s thriving Defence and Security Programme. Together, the Turing and DSO will explore new research methods designed to help understand complex datasets, covering different modalities such as image, text, and audio. Researchers will work to develop novel methods to help with the analysis of these fascinating and complex data sets.

The agreement will also lead to new, joint research projects and an exchange of academic materials and publications. Collaboration will be at the heart of the research programme, pulling in academic experts and other academic institutions in the UK.

Speaking at a virtual signing ceremony, Adrian Smith, Chief Executive and Director of The Alan Turing Institute, said, “Misinformation, terrorism and humanitarian aid are three of the most critical challenges facing governments across the world. This agreement with DSO will allow us to build our shared capabilities in these areas and explore these issues through a symbiotic international collaboration.”

CEO of DSO National Laboratories, Mr Cheong Chee Hoo, added "Partnership with The Alan Turing Institute will provide our researchers the opportunity to work side-by-side with like-minded AI experts. We look forward to pushing the boundaries and tackling the challenges in data science and AI, and these would be useful in developing applications to enhance our national security."

Kara Owen, British High Commissioner to Singapore, said "The UK and Singapore’s partnership on science, research and innovation is one of the most exciting parts of the relationship, where we work now on things that will define our world in future years. This MOU between The Alan Turing Institute and DSO National Laboratories is yet another milestone. Through the MOU, top minds from the Turing and DSO will research advanced Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies, with the goal of supporting the evolving needs of digital communities. I look forward to witnessing the opportunities this collaboration will bring and have no doubt that the results will help shape our futures."

Further information about the themes:

Misinformation and Disinformation

New techniques in analysing social media content will enable the identification of harmful online material such as malign influence, extremist rhetoric, and the encouragement of serious violence, whether it is spread as text, image, or video. This will help to curb the speed at which such material can be shared and ensure that citizens continue to benefit from safe and trusted online spaces. 

Humanitarian Aid and Disaster Relief

In a period of unprecedented global disasters fuelled by a changing climate, the ability to effectively provide responses to these disasters becomes more important than ever. A growing ability to collect data about such disasters, driven by both more prolific sensors and autonomous vehicles, provide a significant opportunity to first responders in tackling these disasters. AI techniques can help in areas such as analysing imagery, locating survivors, and providing important cultural, contextual, and linguistic support to first responders, especially in typically low-resource languages. Such techniques are of much importance in multilateral humanitarian relief efforts.

Counter Terrorism

Data analysis plays a large and substantial part in countering extremism. Analysts have to sift through large amounts of data to find threats, looking for the needle in the haystack that could result in a foiled extremist plot. Novel AI techniques can help analysts undertake this in a more efficient and expedient way.