Empowering Our Data Scientists

30 Jan 2023

Just like how data science is constantly evolving at an astronomical rate, our data scientists are also always on the ball when it comes to upgrading themselves!

Aligned with DSTA’s goal to nurture our staff and encourage professional growth, our data scientists took it upon themselves to engage academic and industry experts to gain greater insights into their field of work. This led to an initiative where DSTA engaged academic experts as Distinguished Professors, allowing our technologists to tap their technical expertise to further their knowledge in specific technology areas.

We have since engaged Professor Anthony Tung, Deputy Head of the National University of Singapore’s Computer Science department and leading expert in data science, as Distinguished Professor (Data Science). With his extensive experience in best data science practices across academia and various industries, he is uniquely positioned to provide our data scientists with fresh technical insights.

One team eager to tap Professor Tung’s expertise was working on predictive material provisioning, a subset of the Fleet Management System we developed for the three services to help them better plan their maintenance schedules and manage their fleet. The existing approach was a conventional one, and the team saw the potential of enhancing the approach based on differing demand patterns. The team from Enterprise Digital Services Programme Centre thus decided to explore the potential of data-led methodologies to better anticipate and automate forecasting of assets for our users.

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The collaboration enabled the team to refine their work by seeking his professional opinions regarding the research and development of algorithms in areas such as anomaly detection, natural language processing, and event detection, among others. The team also benefited greatly through dialogue sessions with Professor Tung, where open conversations about data science were welcomed and encouraged.

Senior Data Scientist (Enterprise Digital Services) Timothy Arvind Augustine recounted: “We’ve had many fruitful discourses with Professor Tung on techniques and methodologies that could push the boundaries of analyses that we’d conducted previously.”

Engineer (Enterprise Digital Services) Tan Phee Boon added: “The invaluable data science knowledge he shared with us is very impactful to our work. Our discussions provided us with an important avenue to explore and validate alternative solutions, which led us to incorporate fresh designs into our initial algorithm.”

Their combined expertise culminated in new modelling solutions that could be applied to a variety of demand patterns of spares, which could in turn improve forecasting accuracy compared to current conventions being employed. The team also identified the potential of leveraging these novel approaches for similar spare demand patterns experienced by our users.

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The regular sessions with Professor Tung also gave the team opportunities to pick up many tips and tricks in data science beyond the immediate scope of their project, including the management of user interaction in data science work to improving project scalability.

As we continue to drive digital transformations, our data scientists can look forward to more fresh perspectives and upskilling initiatives in the future.

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