Speech by Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for Economic Policies Heng Swee Keat at the 33rd International Olympiad in Informatics 2021 Closing Ceremony on 28 June 2021. DPM Heng made his speech via video message.
Dear participants of the International Olympiad for Informatics,
Computing scientists are revolutionizing the world. From Artificial Intelligence, to Big Data to the Internet of Things, you are dramatically changing the way we work, live and play. COVID-19 has disrupted many of our plans, but it has also opened new doors and made us reinvent how we do things. As we learn to live with the virus, digital technology has given us some degree of normalcy –staying in touch with our loved ones, going online for our needs, and conducting business through video conferencing. Digital technology has also allowed us to hold this competition virtually, for the second year running. The pandemic has accelerated the pace of digital adoption and breakthroughs. This has given us hope, amid adversity. We must harness the digital revolution to rebuild from this global crisis, and create a better future for everyone. As we navigate a very uncertain path to recovery and greater complexities ahead, the computing science community will have a key role to play.
All of you have worked hard preparing for this competition, and given your best in the past few days. I hope participating in this Olympiad has imparted you with new knowledge, and inspired you to make a bigger difference at a time when the world is in crisis. I also hope that even though you cannot be together in person, you have managed to make new friends from other countries. This is important – for no country can defeat this virus alone, much less thrive in a post-pandemic world.
Global cooperation is essential in the fight against COVID-19. We have seen an unprecedented level of information sharing and cooperation in science and technology. With global vaccination underway, there is also a concerted effort to ensure that all nations have fair and equitable access to vaccines. The same applies to computing science – where a collaborative approach among computer scientists around the world can create a bigger impact for humanity. In fact, computers should be augmenting and not displacing humans. I hope that you can come up with new ways for human and machines to work more effectively and in collaboration.
Global partnership is also the spirit of how this Olympiad is organised. I am pleased to officially pass the baton to our friends and colleagues in Indonesia, who will be hosting next year’s Olympiad. By then, I hope that the pandemic will be under control and the competition can once again be held in person. I look forward to what is in store for us next year.
Congratulations to the medal winners and to all participants. Being able to represent your country is an achievement in itself. Kudos also to the organisers for pulling off another successful virtual competition, despite the challenges. While you did not get the chance to visit Singapore for the competition, I welcome you to visit us when the situation permits. Till the next edition, stay safe, follow your passion and keep learning!
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