SUTD to offer new undergrad degree in design and artificial intelligence

Students will be exposed to areas of design such as user interface/user experience (UI/UX), product, systems, built environment, and data-driven design. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

SINGAPORE - Artificial intelligence (AI) technologies can benefit designers, if they know how to harness them.

Statistical data can be used to predict an outcome - a method known as predictive modelling. In urban planning for example, demand for public trains can be forecasted in order to create more efficient public transport deployment plans.

To equip students with such skills, the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) has launched a new undergraduate degree in design and AI, in anticipation of a growing demand for talents who can combine expertise in design innovation with AI technology.

The 3 ½-year programme - the first of its kind in Singapore - will take in students this academic year, which starts in May, SUTD said on Friday (Jan 10).

Students will be exposed to areas of design such as user interface/user experience (UI/UX), product, systems, built environment, and data-driven design.

They will also learn to use AI technologies and algorithms to produce better design and applications.

Graduates of this programme will be able to work as data scientists and data visualisation specialists in industries such as urban planning, product design and telecommunications, the university said.

Established in 2009, SUTD is the fourth autonomous university in Singapore and focuses on engineering, innovation and design.

It said that the entry requirements for the new programme are the same as for its other four degrees: architecture and sustainable design; engineering product development; engineering systems and design; and information systems technology and design.

Generally, students should be competent in mathematics and the sciences, namely physics or chemistry.

Statistics provided by the university show that of the A Level students who were offered places in the university admission exercise last year, nearly all had taken mathematics at the H2 level, and eight in 10 scored at least a B.

Nearly all had also taken either physics or chemistry, or both, at the H2 Level, and nearly seven in 10 scored at least a B for either or both subjects.

SUTD president Chong Tow Chong said: "The recent announcements from Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat on the next steps in Singapore's Smart Nation journey underscore the importance of artificial intelligence and the role it will play in bringing about social and economic benefits.

"The main goal of the design and AI programme is to equip students with the ability to create human-centred design using data analysis and machine learning, which is AI-driven," added Professor Chong.

Jurong Pioneer Junior College graduate Michael Hoon, who read H2 maths, further maths and physics, and also took a H3 physics module offered by Nanyang Technological University, is interested in the new programme.

Said the 18-year-old: "I've always been interested in maths and science since I was young, for the most part, due to exposure from school teachers and researching a lot of information online.

"Both subjects are visibly all around us and pretty much serve as the foundations of our survival and development, and being able to apply and integrate the theoretical modelling we have learnt into our daily lives is pretty interesting too."

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