Meet The A*STAR Team Who Models 3D Trees in Singapore For Urban Planning

3D Tree Modelling: Dr Like Gobeawan, Dr Su Yi and IHPC TeamThe IHPC team (from L to R): Dr Daniel Wise, Dr Lim Chi Wan Calvin, Dr Like Gobeawan, Dr Su Yi, Dr Wong Sum Thai

Back in 2015, the National Research Foundation (NRF) launched its first grant call to invite Singapore researchers to enrich the Virtual Singapore platform with innovative technologies. Virtual Singapore, a ‘digital twin’ of Singapore, is a dynamic three-dimensional city model and collaborative data platform to inform decisionmakers on areas such as infrastructure and urban planning. A team from A*STAR’s Institute of High Performance Computing (IHPC) submitted to this grant call their proposal – for a large-scale tree modelling approach.

3D Tree Modelling: Convenient Tree Species

“Majority of the proposals had focused on buildings and urban structures, and there was very little attention given to the modelling of botanical structures, such as trees. This is despite Singapore being a ‘City in a Garden’ – Asia’s greenest city,” said IHPC’s Dr Su Yi.

3D Tree Modelling: Dr Su Yi
Dr Su Yi, Principal Scientist and Director – Strategic Planning and Development, IHPC

The proposal was accepted by NRF, and the team was further connected to other public sector stakeholders such as NParks, Singapore Land Authority, GovTech, and the National University of Singapore.

This multi-agency collaboration helped form an end-to-end value chain from data acquisition, digital modelling, to tree management operations, further amplifying the value proposition of their research work.

3D Tree Modelling: Dr Like GobeawanDr Like Gobeawan, Scientist – Fluid Dynamics, IHPC

“We collaborated with botanists and ecologists to translate the botanical domain knowledge into large-scale representative biomechanical 3D models of actual, individual trees in Singapore,” said IHPC’s Dr Like Gobeawan.

“The exciting possibilities of 3D tree modelling are what motivates me in this project. It’s amazing how we can capture and represent nature in the form of dynamically growing trees.”

3D Tree Modelling: 3D Branch Mesh

These dynamic tree models will bring about more sustainable solutions for tree management in Singapore, and help tackle challenges that include a declining labour workforce, rising public expectation, urbanisation, and climate change.

3D Tree Modelling: Local 10 tree species

The team's project has also been recognised as a World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) Prize 2020 Champion, out of 352 nominated information and communications technology (ICT) success stories from around the globe.

Dr Like and Dr Su Yi’s team of multi-disciplinary computational scientists include Dr Lim Chi Wan Calvin, Dr Daniel Wise, Dr Wong Sum Thai, Dr Cheng Peng, and Dr Shaista Hussain.

3D Tree Modelling: The IHPC Team


The Institute of High Performance Computing (IHPC) seeks to promote and spearhead scientific advances and technological innovations through computational modelling, simulation and AI, and develop impactful applications to further economic growth and improve lives. Join the IHPC family today!