A supercomputer that can help advance complex healthcare research here is one of the key features of a new innovation centre on the Singapore General Hospital (SGH) campus.

Launched on Friday, the Alice Lee Innovation Centre of Excellence @ SGH Campus (Alice @ SGH Campus) aims to accelerate the development of innovations such as medical technology and digital healthcare solutions.

Named in memory of the late Mrs Alice Lee, wife of the late rubber tycoon and philanthropist Lee Kong Chian, the centre is part of the SingHealth Duke-NUS Academic Medical Centre.

It is equipped with facilities such as 3D design and simulation software, a prototyping laboratory, and space for researchers to design and develop proof-of-concept models.

Among the new centre’s key features is SingHealth’s first supercomputer – dubbed Computational Health Research and Optimisation for Medical Advancements (Chroma) – in collaboration with National Supercomputing Centre Singapore.

First announced in March 2022, Chroma has 1,024 CPU (central processing unit) cores, which provide it with high-performance computing capabilities that allow for the processing of large amounts of clinical data.

The SingHealth Duke-NUS Academic Medical Centre said that Chroma enables the training of artificial intelligence (AI) models for large-scale, complex research; the development of AI algorithms for the prediction of the risk of disease; and facilitates personalised medicine.

One of the projects the new supercomputer is working on is the training of the AI tool used in Apollo, a national project that employs AI to analyse scans of heart arteries to determine if a patient has cardiovascular disease.

National Supercomputing Centre Singapore’s strategy, planning and engagement director Bernard Tan noted that with cluster computing – where a collection of computers work together as a single entity – the Apollo team would take between six and eight months to conduct simulations for its work.

“But now with a supercomputer, they can actually reduce that to one to two months,” he told reporters on Friday.

SingHealth group chief executive Ivy Ng said the new centre will help forge new partnerships between the healthcare cluster’s researchers and industry partners to “generate new ideas, prototypes and smart technologies for better disease prevention, diagnoses and treatment”.

“The centre’s co-location with our institutions on the SGH campus is strategic, so that healthcare professionals can bring unmet clinical needs to the innovation table, and work with partners to ideate and test potential solutions in a real-world setting,” Professor Ng added.

In January, the Lee Foundation donated $50 million to the Sing- Health Duke-NUS Academic Medical Centre to advance innovation and research.

Located at the SingHealth Tower, the 590 sq m centre is the first of several such facilities which will be introduced across SingHealth’s hospital campuses.

Alice @ SGH Campus’ clinical director, Associate Professor Henry Ho, noted that different parts of Singapore may have different healthcare needs.

“We want to make sure that (future centres) can have a much closer proximity to what is needed from different segments of the population in Singapore,” he said.

The new centre was launched by Second Minister for Trade and Industry Tan See Leng during the opening of the seventh SingHealth Duke-NUS Scientific Congress, held at the Academia building on the SGH campus.

The event highlighted population health initiatives such as the Empower app – which uses AI to provide users with personalised reminders to engage in healthy lifestyle choices, to manage chronic diseases such as diabetes and hypertension – and Dr Buddy, a chatbot supporting SingHealth’s Mobile Inpatient Care @ Home initiative.