First Temasek-SUTD Generative AI Hackathon Gives Rise to Enterprise-Ready Digital Solutions

08 May 2024

Fifty-nine students from the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) spent five days in March collaborating with various Temasek employees to find solutions for 19 problem statements posed by the global investment company. These solutions ranged from analysing and summarising legal documents and investment reports, to generating useful insights from news sources.

The 92 Temasek and SUTD students who completed the first five-day Temasek x SUTD GenAI hackathon in March 2024.

Using the latest in generative artificial intelligence (GenAI), the undergraduates from SUTD’s Computer Systems and Design (CSD), Design and AI (DAI), Engineering Systems and Design (ESD) and Engineering Product Development (EPD) programmes, used their extensive design and engineering skills to focus on creating solutions for business problem statements faced by Temasek. The problem statements were broken down into a few categories – investment insights, news highlights, sustainability, institutional knowledge and corporate efficiency.

Students were given strict guidelines on the technology stack they were allowed to use in their prototypes to ensure that solutions would be enterprise ready and cyber safe.  Prior to the actual hackathon, the students also had to attend a Large Language Model (LLM) prompt engineering course and a technical webinar on how to build GenAI prototypes. The 33 Temasek staff who were attached to the project teams had to attend a beginners’ LLM course before coming up with the problem statements. All 92 participants were then split into 19 teams, with each team given a GenAI starter code kit to tackle each problem statement and receiving technical mentorship from Temasek’s in-house digital technology team of GenAI practitioners.

Mr Mark Lim, Temasek’s Chief Digital Officer, whose team organised the hackathon said that the response to the event from Temasek staff was “overwhelming”.

“Our recent hackathon with the SUTD students was very encouraging. It proved to be an effective way to rapidly test how to apply cutting edge tech like GenAI to bring greater business impact. While there may be concerns about GenAI disrupting jobs, we believe the real disruptors will be those who can leverage AI to generate better outcomes versus those who are not equipped with the necessary skills. We are focused on fostering a growth mindset, enabling people to learn new skills and seize opportunities presented by technological disruption.”

By the end of the five-day hackathon, all 19 teams produced working GenAI prototypes that validated business value, a noteworthy outcome for any hackathon. This spoke well of the design of hackathon teams where business domain experts from Temasek and engineering students from SUTD had to iterate and test their solutions closely together.

From left to right: Mr Chia Song Hwee, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Temasek International, Mr Melvin Hui, Senior Associate, Finance (Treasury), Temasek, Mr ⁠Javier Heng, Term 6 ISTD undergraduate student, SUTD, Ms Faith Lim, Term 6 DAI undergraduate student, ⁠Mr John Peter Ong, Assistant Vice President, Finance (Treasury), Temasek and Mr Jeriah Yeo, Term 6 ESD undergraduate student, SUTD.

The winning entry came from a team of two Temasek staff and three SUTD students, who used GenAI to generate company-specific treasury insights by syntheisising market colour and reported financials.

Ms Faith Lim, 23, was one of the students who was part of the winning team. The Term 6 DAI undergraduate, who had used Vertex AI, OpenAI’s API and Python as part of her curriculum at SUTD, said: “The Temasek x SUTD GenAI hackathon was an incredibly positive experience. It was a steep learning curve, but we learned not only about the effective use of generative AI, but also topics outside our studies such as corporate treasury and financial knowledge in the five days.”

The second-place winner was a GenAI solution that transcribes and summarises insights from videos that track market developments. The third-place winning solution leverages GenAI to analyse early warning signs of significant geopolitical events as opposed to purely manual monitoring news resources and expert analysis.

Said SUTD’s President, Professor Chong Tow Chong: “Through our recently launched SUTD Leap1, we aim to redesign higher education by leveraging on the power of deep tech like AI to bring to life human-centric solutions using design and technology. We had reached out to our alumni and their companies with the intention to engage them more proactively in innovation. This Temasek x SUTD GenAI Hackathon was a result of that engagement. It is our privilege that our students were able to have this unique experience of producing working prototypes with Temasek’s business units.”

1 On 11 March 2024, SUTD unveiled a new growth strategy called SUTD Leap. By redesigning higher education with an even greater focus on design, AI and technology, SUTD Leap aims to propel the university to the forefront of the design x tech space whilst nurturing the next generation of design x tech innovators and innovator leaders.