Tan Tin Wee

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Tan Tin Wee 2012 at the Induction Ceremony of the inaugural Internet Hall of Fame, Geneva[1]

Tan Tin Wee (born 1962) is a Singaporean bioinformatician and university lecturer.[2] He is an associate professor at the Department of Biochemistry at the National University of Singapore and founding director of the National Supercomputing Center (NSCC) Singapore since 1999. As the inventor and founder of multilingual internationalized domain names (IDN)[3] and a pioneer of the Internet, he was inducted into the Internet Society of 2012 along with the founding fathers of the Internet in the first Internet Hall of Fame. He is well known in Singapore and the region for his work on propagating and developing the Internet.[4]

Life and Work[edit]

Tan studied Biochemistry at the University of Cambridge from 1982 to 1985, after which he received the Master of Science in Molecular Biology and Biotechnology on University College London and did followed it up with a PhD in molecular biology on vaccines at University of Edinburgh[5] in 1990. He returned to Singapore in 1990 to develop TechNet, Singapore's first network for a nationwide research community. In 1994, he and his Chinese language team wrote a program that matches the code for each character and then merged the images into one larger image, and extended this concept to the Tamil language. Tan was responsible for several key internet milestones, including the first Gopher Server, the Singapore InfoWeb and the forerunner of the Present National Web Homepage. Under his leadership, the Internet Research and Development Unit (IRDU), developed the first regional Java website and the first functional multilingual domain name system (iDNS). In addition to his NUS position, Tan is also chair of the agency for the Computational Resource Center for Science, Technology and Research, which is equipping Singapore with supercomputing capabilities for the twenty-first century. With this in mind, he is now pioneering the use of new technologies for online computer communication. TCP / IP (Transmission Control Protocol / Internet Protocol), the communication protocol that the Internet largely uses today, can be improved upon for certain purposes. Some of its addressing computations is redundant for grid computing purposes. A newer communication technology called InfiniBand transmits data with much shorter delay times, less (possible) information loss and higher efficiency than TCP / IP. However, it is currently only used for short-range communication between supercomputers. In November 2014, his team, along with Australian, Japanese and US universities, as well as industry partners Obsidian Strategics and Tata Communications, demonstrated the first high-speed InfiniBand.[6] connection between three continents on a platform called InfiniCortex. In conventional grid computing, distributed processors perform tasks that are parallel but more or less independent. Instead, InfiniCortex offers simultaneous supercomputing, in which intermediate results can be quickly transferred between processors that are located across the globe. In this way, the participating centers can perform challenging tasks such as, intensive computer-aided fluid dynamics or analysis of genomic data - by efficiently sharing computing resources.


For his work, he received national and international recognition: the Singapore Youth Award for Excellence (1994), the Vaccine Research Trust Annual Award (1989), the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI) Education Award (1997 ), the ASEAN Achievement Award (1997) from the ASEAN Business Forum, the Life Insurance Association (LIA) Award for community work, the 7th Innovation Award of the Indian Cultural Festival (1998), the Achievement Award (1998), the gold medal of the World Congress for Medical Informatics MEDINFO'92 and he is a member of the International Who's Who of Professionals (1999) and a member of the exclusive World Technology Network (2001) as one of 450 leading scientists and entrepreneurs worldwide.

He has been featured in the SINGAPORE TAMILS 200 a book which was released in honour of those who contributed to the Indian community development.[7]

He has served in the board of directors of the management of keppel data centre REIT listed in singapore stock exchange.[8]

He is also a proponent of environmentally green data centres at TED talks.[9]


  1. ^ "Inaugural inductees were announced on April 23, 2012 at the Internet Society's Global INET conference in Geneva, Switzerland".
  2. ^ "Associate Professor TAN Tin Wee - Biochemistry, NUS Medicine". bch.nus.edu.sg.
  3. ^ Metz, Cade (December 4, 2012). "Who Built the Internet? People Like Tan Tin Wee" – via www.wired.com.
  4. ^ http://newshub.nus.edu.sg/news/1012/PDF/WEB-st-19dec-p32.pdf
  5. ^ "Dr Tan Tin Wee".
  6. ^ K, Roberta. "IBTA Specification Download".
  7. ^ "சிங்கப்பூருக்கு அதிகளவில் பங்களித்துள்ள தமிழர்கள்". Tamil Murasu. December 29, 2019.
  8. ^ "Keppel DC REIT - Dr Tan Tin Wee". www.keppeldcreit.com.
  9. ^ "TEDx Singapore Presentation". June 24, 2016.

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