Professor Ooi Beng Chin
Lee Kong Chian Centennial Professor, National University of Singapore

Prof Ooi Beng Chin

Lee Kong Chian Centennial Professor Ooi Beng Chin from the NUS School of Computing has been elected as Fellow of the prestigious Academy of Engineering, Singapore (SAEng) in February 2023. The SAEng serves as a think tank on engineering-related public policy and steers initiatives in the areas of strategic importance to Singapore so as to meet the challenges of the new millennium. 

Being an eminent scientist, Prof Ooi has been recognized as a fellow of the ACM, IEEE, and Singapore National Academy of Science (SNAS) and a foreign member of Academia Europaea. He has won numerous awards, including Singapore President’s Science Award, NUS Outstanding Researcher Award, NUS Research Recognition Award, IEEE Computer Society Kanai Award, IEEE TCDE CSEE (Computer Science, Engineering, Education) Impact Award, China Computer Federation (CCF) Overseas Outstanding Contributions Award, and ACM SIGMOD EF Codd Innovations Award. 

Over the decades, Prof Ooi has been a trailblazer in the computing community in Singapore, especially in the areas of database systems, distributed and blockchain systems, machine learning and large-scale analytics. 

He led the development of Apache SINGA in 2015, putting Singapore on the global map of Apache open source and distributed deep learning. Their open-source project called Apache SINGA was Southeast Asia’s first Top-Level Project under the Apache Software Foundation, the world’s largest open source software community.  Its software stack includes autoML, machine learning pipeline management, and explainability components. Apache SINGA currently powers applications across multiple sectors including healthcare, banking and finance, software development and cybersecurity.  In the area of healthcare, Prof Ooi has collaborated with National University Hospital, JurongHealth, Singapore General Hospital (SGH) and Tan Tock Seng Hospital on healthcare analytics and prediabetes prevention. For example, Apache SINGA has been used to analyse MRI and X-ray images to improve the identification of health problems at National University Hospital and SGH. On the cybersecurity front, Apache SINGA has been used by SecureAge to develop malware detection deep learning models to identify existing malware, as well as to discover new types of malware based on the data. It has also been used for fraud detection and other applications. 

As Program Lead for the Singapore Blockchain Innovation Programme (SBIP), Prof Ooi and his team facilitate the development, commercialization and adoption of blockchain technology for real-world applications. The core of the SBIP blockchain ecosystem is based on the research outcomes from the NUS Database System Research Lab which is co-led by Prof Ooi. His team released the world first blockchain benchmarking system Blockbench, and an enhanced Hyperledger Fabric platform called FabricSharp. His team has also developed various other blockchain systems, such as smart contract verification, IP management, and trusted document signing. 

Additionally, he has developed numerous other open source softwares such as Cohort Online Analytical Processing (COOL). His team has also developed a federated learning engine for distributed data collaboration and verifiable database systems. Recently, he has been musing about the Metaverse and Web3, with respect to data, technology and governance. 

Each year, the SAEng elects prominent personalities comprising eminent engineers, engineering scientists, public officials, and distinguished leaders of the academic and business communities to the Academy Fellowship. Fellows are elected through a rigorous peer review process that evaluates individuals on their stellar leadership and career achievements in the field of engineering across all disciplines