Senior Scientist and Group Manager, Affective Computing Group, Social and Cognitive Computing Department, Institute of High Performance Computing, A*STAR
Principal Investigator, Digital Emotion and Empathy Machine Programme
Adjunct Investigator, Surveillance and Analytics, Infectious Disease Labs, A*STAR

Dr Yang Yinping is a social technologist who has a passion for advancing human communication and decision-making in real-world applications. She currently leads the affective computing group at A*STAR’s Institute of High Performance Computing. Her group drives A*STAR’s digital emotion and empathy machine programme, which aims at building empathy in future intelligent systems based on a multidimensional, multimodal and systematic emotional-level understanding of human experiences. Dr Yang’s research has spanned multiple subject areas, including automated negotiation, emotion recognition, sentiment analysis, disease surveillance, and science and technology foresight. Besides research, she has extensive experience leading over 12 industry and public sector projects and is an advisor consulted for deep-tech start-ups. Yinping’s work has won numerous research and technology innovation awards from prestigious organizations, including a best paper award from the IEEE system sciences conference and a connect + develop open innovation solutions award on digital insights from The Procter and Gamble Company. In 2020, she was named in the inaugural 100 Singapore women in tech list as a female leader recognized in Singapore’s tech sector, and was among 53 outstanding women featured in GovInsider’s special report. She obtained her Ph.D. in Information Systems in 2008 from the School of Computing, National University of Singapore.

Emotion recognition and sentiment analysis
Being a founding member and senior scientist with the social and cognitive computing department since 2014, she built and currently leads a cross-disciplinary group of researchers focusing on building deep social technology applicable to real-world problems. The team comprises scientists and engineers across diverse backgrounds, including computer science, information systems, software engineering, psychology, linguistics, communication, organizational behavior, and media arts. 

Yinping is the key driver and the principal investigator for Project Digital Emotions. Accounting for Asia’s multilingual sociocultural characteristics, this research programme integrated five cross-modality systems from A*STAR’s peaks of excellence in multilingual speech and language processing, computer vision, and social intelligence technologies in one multimodal emotion analysis platform. The collaborative project team comprises scientists and engineers from three institutes: A*STAR’s Institute of High Performance Computing, Institute for Infocomm Research, and University of Illinois’ Advanced Digital Sciences Centre in Singapore. Building upon capabilities from the Social Technologies + programme supported by A*STAR’s Joint Council Office (2014-2017), the Digital Emotions programme was spearheaded and supported by A*STAR under its Science, Engineering and Research Council’s Strategic Fund (2017-2019) and A*ccelerate Gap Fund (2019-2020). 

The emotion recognition and sentiment analysis line of work has created a new platform technology capable of multimodal and multilingual emotion recognition for analyzing open-domain real-world videos. This platform enabled cross-industry sector applications in three areas. First, a deep-tech A*spin-off (EMO Technologies; now INTNT.AI) was created in 2019, which licensed her team’s emotion analytics inventions as the core technologies to build the company’s first go-to-market products. The distinctive products enabled the company to provide services to a range of paying customers including FMCG & Pharma companies, public hospitals, and NGOs. Second, more than 12 high-value direct industry projects are delivered with leading LLEs and MNCs towards real-world business innovations across Consumer Care, Media, Hospitality, and Professional Services. Third, Dr Yang’s team has deployed social ground sensing systems for several public agencies and social good, including one to help authorities and the public health community better understand the public responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, with support from A*STAR and the NMRC COVID-19 Research Grant (2020-Present).

Disease surveillance and ground sensing
Over 2012-2014, Dr Yang led a special programme initiative called strategic social systems, a first-of-its-kind, cross-disciplinary translation research initiative at A*STAR’s Institute of High Performance Computing that sought to translate computational social sciences capabilities to real-world applications. The programme built strong cases that social sciences, data analytics, and machine intelligence can be married to enable new social technologies and systems for valuable public, consumer, and health applications. 

One example project from the strategic social systems initiative is titled “Leveraging social networking sites for disease surveillance and public sensing: the case of the 2013 avian influenza A(H7N9) outbreak in China”. This study, published at WHO Journal on Western Pacific Surveillance and Response in 2015, was among the first to examine the value of social media in disease surveillance and ground sensing. This collaborative study with the public health intelligence group at the Ministry of Health, Singapore, also received Best Oral Presentation Award at the 9th Singapore Public Health and Occupational Medicine Conference in August 2014. 

Science and technology foresight 
In 2015, Dr. Yang was tasked by A*STAR’s Science and Engineering Research Council to chair a strategic foresight panel with 13 academic experts and industry leaders looking into Future Complex Service Systems for its Futurescape 2025 exercise. Using horizon scanning, scenario analysis, and expert opinion survey, the panel conducted an in-depth analysis of the country’s needs and global trends. It recommended nine capabilities as strategic areas to support Singapore’s future growth of product-service systems. 

The innovative approach has been recognized and received the Best Theme Presentation Award (Policy Analytics) at the 2015 Business, Consumer and Social Insights Workshop, organized by Singapore Management University. An invited paper that expanded from the project, “Reinventing product-service systems: A case of Singapore”, was published at Foresight, a leading practitioner journal on strategic foresight and management.

Automated negotiation and negotiation support systems
Before her current appointment, Yinping was with the advanced computing department as a scientist in 2007-2014. She focused on building an automated e-negotiation engine using an intelligent agent approach. Her work in the e-negotiations field has led to the publication of multiple top-tier research papers, received two best paper/prototype awards, and contributed to the successful completion of the A*STAR-Hewlett-Packard shared service systems project in 2007-2010. Her e-negotiations engine was recognized as an exemplar project for establishing the Hewlett-Packard Labs Singapore in 2011 and enabled a deep-tech A*spin-off company (Negobot Pte Ltd) in 2018. 

Before joining IHPC, Yinping obtained her Ph.D. in Information Systems in 2008 from the School of Computing, National University of Singapore. While pursuing doctoral studies, she researched the field of negotiation support systems. She examined the interplay between technological features (computer-based decision support, videoconferencing, multilingual communication interface, and agent-based automation) and human factors (e.g., individual differences such as computer self-efficacy). She received two Dean’s Graduate Awards for Meritorious Performance in 2004 and 2007, respectively. From 1998 to 2003, she received the Singapore Ministry of Education’s GLC Scholarship to pursue undergraduate studies in NUS and obtained B.Computing (2nd Upper Honours) in 2003.

Honors and awards

  • 2021 – NUS SOC Outstanding Computing Alumni Award 2020
  • 2021 – A*STAR’s 30 Most Impactful Innovations & Inventions over Three Decades
  • 2021 – P&G Connect + Develop Open Innovation Solutions Award on Digital Insights 2020
  • 2020 – Inaugural 100 Singapore Women in Tech
  • 2018 – IET Innovation Award Finalist
  • 2015 – BCSI Best Theme Presentation Award
  • 2014 – SPHOMC Best Oral Presentation Award
  • 2009 – WITS Best Prototype Award
  • 2009 – HICSS-42 Best Paper Award
  • 2007 – NUS SOC Dean’s Graduate Award 
  • 2006 – WITS Best Paper Award
  • 2004 – NUS SOC Dean’s Graduate Award

Dr Yang Yinping's webpage