MCI's Response to PQ on National AI Strategy vs Energy and Environmental Sustainability
Parliament Sitting on 9 January 2024
QUESTION FOR WRITTEN ANSWER
47. Dr Lim Wee Kiak: To ask the Minister for Communications and Information with regard to the National Artificial Intelligence Strategy 2.0 (a) how does the Government plan to balance the increased computing power necessary for artificial intelligence (AI) developments with Singapore's energy sustainability goals; and (b) what initiatives or strategies are in place to ensure that the infrastructure and computing power needed for AI growth remain environmentally sustainable.
An important enabler of our National Artificial Intelligence Strategy (NAIS) 2.0 strategy is AI compute power housed in data centres (DCs) in Singapore. The Government is committed to anchoring the necessary compute power and growing the DC sector in a sustainable manner, consistent with our international climate commitments.
One key strategy is to improve the energy efficiency of DCs and facilitate the deployment of efficient cooling solutions. For example, AI compute infrastructure typically relies on liquid cooling, which is more energy-efficient than air cooling for such intensive workloads. Other measures include:
a. Supporting DC operators to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through the Economic Development Board (EDB)’s Resource Efficiency Grant for Emissions;
b. Developing sustainability standards, such as the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA)’s Tropical DC Standards that enable DCs to operate safely at higher temperatures and use less energy for cooling; and
c. Reviewing Building and Construction Authority (BCA)-IMDA’s Green Mark for DCs certification scheme to update the energy-efficiency criteria.
Beyond sustainable AI compute infrastructure, it is important to invest in the development of green computing methods. These methods include (i) coding and algorithm optimisation, (ii) software-hardware optimisation, and (iii) developing standards for low-data, low-energy AI models. The Government will continue to deepen international and domestic partnerships with the research community and industry partners on this front.