Van H. Vu

Van H. Vu received his Ph.D. at Yale University, in 1998 under the direction of László Lovász.
He came back to Yale as a professor in 2011, after spending times at Microsoft Research, UCSD and Rutgers. Vu was a member at IAS on three occasions (1998, 2005, 2007). In 2007, he was the leader of the special program Arithmetic Combinatorics. His research focus on random structures (random graphs, random matrices, random functions), additive combinatorics, and randomized algorithms. He is currently trying to connect random matrix theory with numerical linear algebra to attack problems in data science (such as clustering and matrix completion).

Vu received the Polya prize (SIAM 2008) for his work on the concentration phenomenon, and the Fulkerson prize (AMS 2012, joined with J. Kahn and A. Johansson) for the proof of Shamir conjecture and its generalization. He was a Medallion lecturer at the 8th World congress in Probability and Statistics (Istanbul) and an invited speaker at the 2014 World congress in Mathematics (Seoul).

What do you do with data science?

I am interested in both the mathematical foundation of data science and real life applications. As matrices is perhaps the most standard form of data, I do believe that one can use tools from modern random matrix theory and numerical linear algebra to effectively attack problems in data science. For instance, lately I am working with several co-authors on matrix completion and clustering.

At the other end of the spectrum, I am also interested in (and fascinated by) real-life applications in AI and genetic studies.