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Singapore to invest $300 mil into quantum technology, to add 300MW in data centre capacity

Nicole Lim
Nicole Lim • 3 min read
Singapore to invest $300 mil into quantum technology, to add 300MW in data centre capacity
The city also plans to add 200MW of data centre capacity which will run on green energy deployment. Photo: IMDA
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Singapore will invest close to $300 million to pursue quantum technology, as part of its National Quantum Strategy which was launched on the first day of the ATxSummit on May 30 by Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat. 

The summit is the country’s flagship technology event, organised by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA). This fourth edition will draw over 3,000 attendees from 55 countries. 

The city-state will invest in quantum technology across four areas — quantum research and development; engineering capabilities; talent; and partnerships. 

This is part of Singapore’s race to build quantum computers, a rapidly-emerging technology that harnesses the laws of quantum mechanics to solve problems too complex for classical computers. 

Quantum computing’s far higher processing capabilities can stimulate complex molecules for drug discovery, improve the efficiency of developing and training advanced AI models, among others, says DPM Heng.

Yet the information-communication industry is an energy intensive sector which contributes greatly to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. DPM Heng notes that the technology industry emits an estimated 1.5% to 4% of GHG, and is projected to “grow rapidly” as the use of AI expands and the need for data centre storage and processing grows. 

See also: Redefining Asean’s manufacturing landscape with deep learning

As such, DPM Heng announced in his opening speech the launch of the green data centre roadmap which will aim to provide 300 megawatts (MW) of additional capacity in the near term, and potentially 200MW and more through green energy deployments. 

Senior Minister of State for Communications and Information Janil Puthucheary said at the launch of the green data centre roadmap on 30 May that: “Digital sustainability is a critical issue that affects us all.”

“There is a need to balance the economic and social benefits with applications and environmental effects,” he adds. 

See also: No net zero without the help of SMEs

Much of Singapore’s digital economy growth is dependent on data centres, and as of 2022, the information-communication technology sector accounted for 17% of the country’s gross domestic product. 

To that point, Puthucheary says that there are international climate commitments that Singapore has every intention of standing by. The data centre roadmap therefore sets out the type of support that the government will provide to the industry, such as through existing resource efficient grants. 

It also sets out how low carbon energy sources, such as biofuel cells, low carbon hydrogen and ammonia can be utilised. 

At the opening gala on May 29, President Tharman Shanmugaratnam said in his speech that AI together with climate change are going to be the most “complex and important challenge” that the global community will face. 

“Ultimately, it's not about the technologies, it's all of us, scientists, engineers, policymakers, private operators, labour leaders, civil society, whose decisions, disagreements and hopefully growing affinity with each other because of our common interests will determine the cause of humanity,” says President Tharman.

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