Nanyang Poly launches new AI, data engineering course

Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP) has launched a diploma course in artificial intelligence (AI) and data engineering that will be co-developed and co-taught by industry professionals and its lecturers.

Students will receive industry certification from the partner companies on top of their diplomas, NYP said yesterday.

The course will adopt its professional competency model (PCM), aimed at mirroring workplace practices, instead of the subject-based approach taken by most schools.

This means students will not have to take mathematics as a separate subject, for example, but will instead learn how to apply the appropriate parts and statistics, together with software and technology, to accomplish tasks such as collecting and analysing data from sensors.

Ms Jeanne Liew, principal and chief executive of NYP, said this approach will result in a more responsive and relevant curriculum.

"NYP can quickly pick up changes or updates in skills because we are working with global leaders who can map out how technologies are changing," she added.

"New developments can be easily plugged into the PCM, while obsolete technologies or areas are removed. This ensures that our learners will always be equipped with the most relevant skills to tackle any job task with ease."

Industry partners in the new course include Microsoft, Nvidia, AI Singapore, Omron Electronics and AI Professionals Association.

Dr Ettikan Kandasamy Karuppiah, chief technologist for the Asia Pacific South region at California-based Nvidia, said it is working with NYP to develop a module on applied deep learning, as part of the course.

The module will cover how fundamental concepts in AI and machine learning are applied to address specific industry problems that engineers face, he added.

Nvidia, an American chipmaker, is widely known for producing computer graphics processors, but has also branched out into AI-related fields like autonomous vehicles and healthcare diagnostics and imaging.

NYP lecturers will be given access to teaching materials used at Nvidia's Deep Learning Institute. The company's researchers and engineers will train and guide the lecturers before the course commences, and will also share their experiences with students as guest lecturers.

Dr Ettikan said NYP students will be taught how to use neural networks in areas like image classification and computer vision, for example, to allow a computer to visually recognise objects like animals and human beings in real time.

"The students need to understand industry problems and have hands-on experience. The internalisation of how they use the various tools to achieve the outcome is very important and that will help them when they go out and start working in the industry."

The diploma course, offered under NYP's School of Engineering, will take in its first students next year.

NYP said it will also convert its existing diploma course in game development and technology to the PCM, starting with next year's intake.

Applications for both courses will open during the early admissions exercise this month.

NYP said its other diploma programmes will also be progressively converted to the new model over the next five years.

Correction note: This article has been edited for accuracy.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 03, 2021, with the headline 'Nanyang Poly launches new AI, data engineering course'. Subscribe