Giving AI research a boost

Izah Azahari

Shell Deepwater Borneo Ltd and Brunei Shell Petroleum Company Sdn Bhd (BSP) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Universiti Teknologi Brunei (UTB) for ‘Artificial Intelligence (AI): Gift to the Nation’ initiative in line with their digitalisation and technological evolution journey.

Minister of Education Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Hamzah bin Haji Sulaiman witnessed the signing between UTB Vice-Chancellor Professor Dr Hajah Zohrah binti Haji Sulaiman, Shell Country Chair and BSP Managing Director Agnete Johnsgaard-Lewis, and Managing Director of Shell Deepwater Borneo Ltd Dr Ivo Verstralen.

Acting Permanent Secretary (Higher Education) at the Ministry of Education Dr Chin Wei Keh was present.

Professor Dr Hajah Zohrah said, “Through this collaboration, UTB will receive an artificial intelligence (AI) boost, consisting one or more of the main components of a machine vision lab, machine learning centre and digital realities centre”.

These contribution will help improve and enhance UTB’s teaching and learning, as well as research capabilities, bringing a multitude of opportunities where these machines and labs will be applicable to all kinds of research streams such as analysing individual behavioural patterns, analysing information related to economic projections, smart irrigation system, packaging processes, increasing rice production, hydro-informatics and climate change, and to the extent of utilising virtual reality technology to evaluate prototype simulations, she added.

Minister of Education Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Hamzah bin Haji Sulaiman witnesses the signing between UTB Vice-Chancellor Professor Dr Hajah Zohrah binti Haji Sulaiman, Shell Country Chair and Managing Director Agnete Johnsgaard-Lewis, and Managing Director of Shell Deepwater Borneo Ltd Dr Ivo Verstralen. PHOTO: IZAH AZAHARI

“As part of our commitment to investing in the future development of advanced technologies in Brunei Darussalam, these machines and laboratories can also be benefitted by others such as the STEP Centre, Ministry of Education to expose the use of the machines to primary and secondary schools,” the vice-chancellor added.

Meanwhile, Agnete Johnsgaard-Lewis said, “The future that lies ahead is exciting and full of opportunities as we enter the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

“The global market of AI is growing at a dazzling speed and projected to reach more than USD300 billion by 2027. Especially this year the use of AI in myriad fields has skyrocketed during the pandemic, using the global crisis to search for new tools to manage and survive the pandemic in all possible aspects of life. The importance of adopting AI has been acknowledged at the highest level in Brunei.

“BSP is already spearheading digitalisation, cutting-edge technologies and innovation in the country and Shell can complement this by providing a package of hardware and AI expertise to the nation.”

UTB will be provided with AI machinery such as AI developer powerful laptops, AI Edge computing, Augmented and Virtual Reality devices, Do It Yourself Voice and Vision kits, as well as Conversational Interfaces.

“During the implementation phase of the MoU, UTB, BSP and Shell can discuss where they can further cooperate in AI to benefit the country and develop our local youths to be future-ready in this field,” she said.