PM Lee meets Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg on US trip

PHOTO: Facebook/MarkZuckerberg

Who would have guessed that Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong could not just effectively run a country such as Singapore but also churn out computer codes?

During a visit to Facebook's headquarters in Menlo Park, California, on Friday (Feb 12), Mr Lee was presented with an artwork, designed at Facebook, which bore etchings of lines from a computer programme he had written himself.

The visit was hosted by the social network giant's founder Mark Zuckerberg.

Zuckerberg wrote in a Facebook post on Saturday morning: "The Prime Minister is one of the only world leaders who knows how to code."

He added: "Coding can be useful -- no matter what your job is!"

Mr Lee is on a week-long trip to the United States and will attend a special US-ASEAN summit, which marks the first time the US is hosting a meeting with ASEAN leaders.

On his Facebook page, PM Lee shared that he has discussed new technologies and global trends, as well as Singapore's Smart Nation ideas with several tech leaders at the Silicon Valley.

They include Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, Google CEO Sundar Pichai, and Alphabet executive chairman Eric Schmidt.

Mr Lee is also expected to meet with Apple CEO Tim Cook, according to a statement from the Prime Minister's Office.

Last May, many were pleasantly surprised to learn that Mr Lee had written a Sudoku solver in C++. He subsequently shared the source code of the programme with others on Facebook.

Besides holding a Diploma in Computer Science (with distinction), Mr Lee was the Senior Wrangler (top mathematics undergraduate) at Cambridge's Trinity College in 1973. He also graduated in 1974 with first class honours in mathematics.

minlee@sph.com.sg

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