19 December 2023

In a press release dated 4 December 2023, the Info-communications Media Development Authority of Singapore (“IMDA”) announced that it is partnering with AI Singapore and the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) to launch the National Multimodal Large Language Model Programme (“Programme”). The new S$70 million initiative, funded by the National Research Foundation, Singapore, will develop Singapore’s research and engineering capabilities in multi-modal Large Language Models (“LLM”).

The Programme marks a significant leap forward in building the next bounds of artificial intelligence (“AI”) capabilities for Singapore and the region. A cornerstone of this initiative is the development of multimodal and localised LLMs for Singapore and the region to understand context and values related to the diverse cultures and languages of South-east Asia.

The Programme seeks to achieve the following:

  • Build skilled AI talent in Singapore by providing funding and access to high-end computing for local researchers and engineers.
  • Foster a thriving AI industry to develop LLM-enabled solutions for greater productivity and new opportunities for businesses. There will be collaborations with industry partners to provide a conducive environment to catalyse the development of novel AI enterprise use cases.
  • Enable Singapore to build a trusted environment in using AI. The Programme will provide a deeper understanding of how LLMs work and further research AI governance. The Programme will develop a base model with regional context that can understand the unique linguistic characteristics and multi-lingual environment of Singapore and the region.

The development of the National Multimodal LLM Programme follows from initial efforts by various government agencies to leverage and expand Singapore’s AI capabilities. This effort in research, engineering, governance, computing, and innovative enterprise AI use cases will develop models and use cases within the next two years.

Reference materials

The press release is available on the IMDA website www.imda.gov.sg.