12 Jun 2023
From machine learning and chatbots to generative AI, nearly 80 students delved into the realms of artificial intelligence (AI) at the Young Defence Scientists Programme (YDSP) Science & Technology (S&T) Camp held from 12 to 16 June 2023. The S&T Camp is one of the key programmes under YDSP that allows students to learn and explore all about engineering and infocomm technology through eye-opening lectures and hands-on workshops, and challenge their newfound knowledge in exciting competitions.
In this run of the camp, students learnt about the concepts of generative AI and machine learning, and its applications in the real world. The camp started with a sharing session by our engineers, Development Programme Manager (Digital Hub) Jonathan Tan and Data Scientist (Digital Hub) Andrea Chua, who spoke about how AI technologies can be used to autonomously explore unknown environments, automatically detect targets and bolster data-driven decision-making in the Singapore Armed Forces. Our engineers also shared their career experiences to aspiring students eager to pursue a path in the defence tech industry.
Development Programme Manager (Digital Hub) Jonathan Tan and Data Scientist (Digital Hub) Andrea Chua shared insights into their careers in DSTA.
Over the five days, the students underwent a structured training programme where they learnt about AI systems and their functions. They explored AI technologies used to generate images and Natural Language Processing (NLP) tasks like text-to-speech and question answering technology.
Students were also actively involved in hands-on activities where they learnt to code and build applications using Python – a programming language – while leveraging ChatGPT’s capabilities to create interactive chatbots and virtual assistants.
No YDSP S&T camp is complete without a competition to spice things up. Participants were teamed up to develop their own generative AI prototypes with potential defence applications, and were also tasked to present their imaginative AI stories generated using just ChatGPT prompts. The teams then put together an exciting presentation to showcase their projects on the final day of the camp.
The teams presented a fictional story generated by ChatGPT and proposed a generative AI app that could meet the needs of our military.
The winning team, which comprised students from Cedar Girls’ Secondary School and CHIJ St. Nicholas Girls’ School, came up with a prototype designed to generate camouflage patterns on an electronic textile. When worn, the prototype would use AI to generate camouflage images based on the surroundings to effectively conceal soldiers and military assets in any terrain, improving their chances of survival and mission success.
The winners receiving their award from Director (Talent Attraction & Development) Marcie Chew and our technologists - Development Programme Manager (Digital Hub) Jonathan Tan and Data Scientist (Digital Hub) Andrea Chua.
“I heard of e-textiles a few years back and it was interesting to see how students used AI to detect the surrounding environment and merged it with this textile technology,” said Data Scientist (Digital Hub) Andrea Chua, who was one of the judges in the competition.
The Science & Technology Camp was well-received by its participants. Advik Sridhar from NUS High School of Mathematics and Science said: “The camp was very interactive with a lot of hands-on activities, and I was able to learn many different concepts about AI, such as how NLP works, how to use create simple neural nets, and how to create websites.”
“I am very interested in defence technology, and this camp gave me an opportunity to deepen my understanding and knowledge in this field,” Thyriq Yip, a YDSP Scholar from Catholic High School added.
Thyriq (first from left) and his teammates created a prototype that generates diet and workout plans for military personnel.
Development Programme Manager (Digital Hub) Jonathan Tan, emphasised the importance of the YDSP programme. He said: “It’s a fun way for students to learn about the latest tech, become aware of the work done in defence with tech, and gain appreciation of our defence needs.”