Prof. Vu Ha Van shares his perspective on nurturing AI talents

On July 22, within the framework of National strategy on R&D and application of Artificial Intelligence, Prof. Vu Ha Van (Scientific Director of Vingroup Big Data Institute) has made specific analyzes on the current situation, causes and solutions to improve the quality of Vietnam’s human resources in the fields of AI and Data Science.

On July 22, the seminar titled “Developing human resources in the field of AI” was organized to promote the National strategy on R&D and application of artificial intelligence. Hosted by the Ministry of Science and Technology, the event gathers prestigious scientists from the leading universities and research institutes in Vietnam. Attending the event, Prof. Vu Ha Van (Scientific Director of VinBigdata) brought a presentation titled “The role of enterprises in nurturing human resources in the fields of AI and Data Science”. At the discussion session, he also contributed new and comprehensive opinions related to the problem of determining the actual demand for AI workforces.

Specifically, from the perspectives of whom responsible for the three roles: a university professor, a research scientist and also taking part in developing technology products, Prof. Vu Ha Van has comprehensively analyzed the current situation, causes, and solutions to improve the quality of Vietnam’s human resources in the fields of AI and Data Science.

According to the professor, to keep abreast of AI rapid development, Vietnam is facing two big problems, including: scarcity of information technology human resources; at the same time, the quality of training has not kept up with practical needs. “Among the annual number of IT graduates, only 30% are able to work immediately, the rest have to undergo a retraining process in enterprises.” – he added. Three reasons were pointed out: students have little opportunity to practice on large-scale projects, meanwhile accessing to real datasets and computational infrastructures is still limited.

Prof. Vu Ha Van presented at the event
Prof. Vu Ha Van presented at the event

Thereby, VinBigdata’s Scientific Director emphasized the role of enterprises in developing and training human resources in the fields of AI and Data Science. Prof. Vu Ha Van highlighted the Vingroup AI Engineer Training Program as a case study that VinBigdata (under Vingroup) was implementing. The goal of the program is to nurture a team of high-quality technology engineers who have practical problem solving skills and meet the domestic demand for the technology workforce. The program participants are expected to become the quintessence of exploiting new technologies, promoting innovation and upgrading science and technology of Vietnam in general and Vingroup in particular.

To address several shortcomings in training bachelors of information technology, the program provides the foundational knowledge (Machine Learning, Computer Vision, Natural Language Processing, Linear Algebra, Computing, Statistics & Probability, Python, AI Ethics), meanwhile giving students the opportunity to experience a professional working environment and participate in large-scale technology projects.

“At universities, while studying subjects like Linear Algebra or Statistics and Probability, students do not see their importance in application. In the Vingroup AI Engineer Training Program, we teach all those subjects at once and show them a big picture, so that in the end they can be proficient in AI. Once acknowledging all specific applications, they will learn better and faster.” – Prof. Vu Ha Van affirmed.

About the achievements in the first two years the program had been implemented, he said that 1000 was the total number of applications, in which, up to 55% of candidates already own national and international awards and titles; 72% of those have working experience in domestic and foreign technology organizations. The program also gathers numerous students from more than 30 prestigious overseas universities. This data not only proves the program attractiveness, but also shows the great demand for learning and development of young talents in the field of science and technology.

Besides the aforementioned presentation, attending the discussion session, Prof. Vu Ha Van also shared some new perspectives on data science.

Answering the question that “How much AI human resources does Vietnam really need”, VinBigdata’s Scientific Director said this was also a problem which needed to be clearly defined. Because in a product or research group, not everyone must know about AI, the rest can be skilled computer engineers. “It is not a positive sign if everyone learns AI. In fact, only a few elites are needed. In addition to AI, there is also Data Science, which, in my opinion, will have many potentials in the future. Data science will be involved in nearly every aspect of life. AI is just one of the tools to analyze that data.”

The event was livestreamed on VnExpress on July 22, 2021. If interested, you can watch the full presentation and discussion of Prof. Vu Ha Van HERE.

Along with basic research and applicable product development, funding and training are two of the main directions that VinBigdata follow. Our goal is to create the most favorable environment for the development of young talents in the fields of AI and Data Science, thus gradually bringing Vietnamese science to the international arena. In addition to Vingroup Innovation Foundation and the Vingroup AI Engineer Training Program, VinBigdata is currently an incubator for nearly 50 young AI employees, many of whom have gained significant achievements such as owning international scientific research or participating in the development of several large-scale applied products.

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