Young Scientist Award at 2023 President’s Science & Technology Awards: Assistant Professor Soujanya Poria

23 Oct 2023

Assistant Professor Soujanya Poria (right) is one of this year’s recipients of the Young Scientist Award. (Image credit: National Research Foundation)

For his outstanding work in multimodal conversational Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Natural Language processing (NLP), Assistant Professor Soujanya Poria received the Young Scientist Award at the President’s Science & Technology Awards (PSTA) ceremony on 20 October 2023.

Honouring young researchers aged 35 and below who show great potential in their fields, the Young Scientist Award is administered by the Singapore National Academy of Science and supported by the National Research Foundation (NRF). Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat, chairman of NRF, presented the award to this year’s three recipients at the award ceremony held in the Istana.

Assistant Prof Poria develops techniques to improve the common-sense reasoning abilities of foundational AI models. By combining text, audio and video data from human interactions, he helps AI systems understand human emotions and intentions. This enhances interactions between human and machine, with the potential to greatly benefit society in areas like education, healthcare, and workplace productivity.

(Young Scientist Award 2023 Winners, National Research Foundation)

"Dr Poria's primary focus has been on overcoming the challenge of fusing multimodal information, achieved through multimodal representation learning and information theoretic methods like mutual-information maximisation. Dr Poria's work shows that amalgamating data from complementary modalities yields superior performance as compared to single-modal systems. The open-source code developed by Dr Poria's team has gained widespread adoption in both academic and industrial spheres." read the full citation

A faculty member of the Information Systems Technology and Design (ISTD) pillar, Assistant Prof Poria was also ranked within the top 0.1% in his field, amongst scientists in the world. The list, as compiled by Stanford University, is based on the bibliometric information in the Scopus database and includes more than 210,000 researchers from across the globe.

President’s Science & Technology Medal
The PSTA are the country’s top honours for research scientists and engineers, given annually to individuals and teams that have made exceptional contributions in science and technology in Singapore.

This year, SUTD’s member of the Board of Trustee Mr Quek Gim Pew, also received the President’s Science & Technology Medal for his pivotal role in developing Singapore’s research ecosystem in critical areas including defence capabilities, space technology, advancing quantum engineering, artificial intelligence and high-performance computing. Mr Quek is currently senior research and development consultant at the Ministry of Defence.