VinUniversity Distinguished Lecture Series

VinUniversity is pleased to present a series of talks by well-known researchers and academics from leading universities. These senior faculty have had significant influence in the advancement of their discipline, and their vision and achievements in research, teaching and their engagement with industry have been deeply influential in setting the research agenda in their fields.

The seminars are open and free for all. While some of the talks will go into some technical details, no special technical or business knowledge is needed to appreciate them!

We hope you can join us to listen, be intrigued and inspired!


Advancing the Frontiers of Academic Research and Innovation for Global Impact

Speaker: Susan Martinis, Ph.D

Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Member of the VinUniversity Academic Advisory Board

Wednesday, October 20, 2021, 8 pm Hanoi time | Zoom Meeting

For Non-VinUni participants, please register to receive the Zoom link to attend the lecture: REGISTRATION LINK

Abstract: The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is one of America’s leading research institutions, and our ecosystem for innovation and discovery is unique in origin, scope and scale. Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation Susan Martinis will discuss how a university, founded 150 years ago to teach agriculture and science, became an engineering powerhouse, the nation’s leader in National Science Foundation (NSF) funding, and an acknowledged leader in interdisciplinary and convergent research that spans the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Department of Energy (DOE), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the Department of Defense (DOD). She will highlight how the university’s research enterprise pivots to new opportunities and challenges, including tackling COVID-19, and showcase some of the ways that the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation helps researchers respond to emerging issues for global impact. And she will look to a bright future where industry, academia, and communities partner in unique ways to support economic development and quality of life for people around the world.

Bio: Susan Martinis is Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she provides leadership for the campus-wide interdisciplinary research institutes, promotes new research initiatives, and oversees the administrative and business processes that ensure the safe, ethical, and productive conduct of research at Illinois.

Dr. Martinis, the Stephen G. Sligar Professor of Molecular and Cellular Biology and Professor of Biochemistry, studies the mechanisms, evolution, and biomedical applications of protein synthesis and RNA-protein interactions. She is a successful researcher, engaged in entrepreneurial activities and corporate partnerships; a committed educator; and an experienced administrator.

The (Un)known-(Un)knowns of COVID-19 Transmission – An Engineer’s Perspective

Speaker: Rajat Mittal, Ph.D

Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the Johns Hopkins University. Member of the VinUniversity Academic Advisory Board.

Wednesday, Sept 15, 2021, 8 pm Hanoi time

Abstract: COVID-19 spread across the world with a speed and intensity that laid bare the limits in our understanding of the transmission pathways of such respiratory diseases. After much confusion and misinformation, there emerged a consensus that airborne transmission from very small respiratory droplets is the most important route for the spread of COVID-19. Each stage in this transmission pathway is mediated by complex flow phenomena, ranging from air-mucous interaction inside the respiratory tract, turbulence in the exhaled jet/ambient flow, to inhalation and deposition of these aerosols in the lungs. Given the emergence of the Delta-variant and the resurgence of infections in many communities, the importance of communicating infection risk across scientific disciplines, as well as to policy/decision makers, is more important than ever. Inspired by the Drake Equation that provides a framework to estimate the seemingly inestimable probability of advanced extraterrestrial life, we propose a relatively simple model for estimating the risk of airborne transmission of a respiratory infection such as COVID-19. The model incorporates simple ideas from fluid dynamics with known factors involved in airborne transmission and is designed to serve not only as a common basis for scientific inquiry across disciplinary boundaries, but also be understandable by a broad audience outside science and academia.

Bio: Rajat Mittal is Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the Johns Hopkins University (JHU) with a secondary appointment in the School of Medicine. He received the B. Tech. degree from the Indian Institute of Technology at Kanpur in 1989, and the Ph.D. degree in Applied Mechanics from The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, in 1995. His research interests include fluid mechanics, computing, biomedical engineering, biofluids and flow control. He is the recipient of the 1996 Francois Frenkiel Award from the Division of Fluid Dynamics of the American Physical Society, and the 2006 Lewis Moody, and the 2021 Freeman Scholar awards from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. He is a Fellow of American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the American Physical Society, and an Associate Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. He is associate editor of the Journal of Computational Physics, Frontiers of Computational Physiology and Medicine, and the Journal of Experimental Biology, and on the editorial boards of the International Journal for Numerical Methods in Biomedical Engineering, and Fluids (an MDPI journal).


April 14, 2021, 5:00 – 6:00PM


Brenda Lynn Dietrich

Arthur and Helen Geoffrion Professor of Practice in the School of Operations Research. Member of Board of Trustees for the Institute for Pure and Applied Mathematics. Member, Governing council of the NAE,
Member of the National Research Council Board on Science, Technology, and Economic Policy

Previously, in her 33 years of distinguished career at IBM, Dr. Dietrich served in many leadership roles, including:

– Head of the Mathematical Sciences function in the IBM Research division.
– IBM Fellow in 2007, and Vice President in 2008
– Chief Technology Officer and Strategist for IBM’s Business Analytics group.

Riding Data Waves: From Ripples to Tsunamis

The 2010s were arguably been the decade of data, with “big data“ becoming bigger, data-driven decision making becoming a corporate imperative, data analytics becoming the hot new degree, data being called a natural resource, and data scientist being awarded the dubious title of “sexiest job of the 21st century.” In many ways, the focus on data was just the next logical and inevitable stage in the evolution of information technology; it required the previous stages and it will provide the foundation for future evolution. In this talk, a quick history of the past six decades of IT will be reviewed with a focus on the digitization of data and the creation of new data by-products. A brief detour will be a discussion of technology projections made in 1995, including what happened, what happened much later than projected, what was projected that didn’t happen, and what happened that was largely unforeseen. The talk will resume with examples of current and emerging use and creation of data and will conclude with a view of future possibilities for the current decade, technical and non-technical issues that may accelerate or delay the possibilities, and some musings on methods to defend first-principals driven methods from displacement by purely data-driven approaches.


January 27, 2021, 5:00 – 6:00PM


Glen Gaulton

Vice Dean and Director of Global Health
Professor, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
Director, Center for Global Health 
University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine
Member, Academic Advisory Board, VinUniversity
See the detailed biography here.

The Critical Role of Biomedical Research in Driving Innovations that Improve Health Outcomes

Dr. Gaulton’s talk will focus on the importance of the junction between university-based scholarship and patient clinical care in driving innovations that improve health outcomes.  Using real-world examples, he will illustrate how these measures bridge research across the university and unite faculty, staff and trainees in a common higher purpose for the public good.

Dr. Gaulton is Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine, and is Vice Dean and Director of the Center for Global Health. He is also Project Director of the VinUni-Penn Alliance. His research spans virology and immunology, and he has held multiple local/national leadership positions over a 35+ year career.

2020 Distinguished Lecture Series

November 25, 2020

Prof. Mark Campbell

John A. Mellowes ’60 Professor in Mechanical Engineering

Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

See the detailed biography at Cornell Engineering faculty’s page 



Autonomous, self-driving cars have the potential to impact society in many ways, including taxi/bus service; shipping and delivery; and commuting to/from work. This talk will give an overview of the history, technological work to date and challenges, and potential future impact of self-driving cars. A key challenge is the ability to perceive the environment from the cars sensors, i.e. how can a car convert pixels from a camera, to knowledge of a scene with cars, cyclist, and pedestrians. This perceived information is typically uncertain, constantly being updated, yet must also be used for important decisions by the car, ranging from a simple change to lanes, or stopping and queuing at a traffic light. Videos, examples, and insights will be given of Cornell’s autonomous car, as well as key performers such as Google/Waymo and car companies. We can then hypothesize together of how our future will look as this amazing technology continues to unfold!

December 9, 2020

Changes in Most Essential Lifeline: The Food Supply Chain

The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted, many times over, the complex and vital role that the food supply chain plays in meeting the basic needs of consumers around the world.  Changes in consumer buying patterns, food production, distribution bottlenecks and new governmental restrictions have added immeasurably to the challenges of bringing food to households.  This seminar will discuss the functioning of the global food system and the disruptions that have beset it as a result of the pandemic.  Various outcomes for the future of the food supply chain, food companies and consumers will be explored.

December 12, 2020 – January, 2021


Joseph Halpern
Professor of Computer Science
Joseph C. Ford Professor of Engineering
Cornell College of Engineering
Professor of Mathematics
Cornell College of Arts and Science
See the detailed biography at Cornell Business faculty’s page.

VinUniversity and CECS are pleased to announce a lecture series by Professsor Joseph Halpern from Cornell University who is an expert on the logic behind the math of everyday events.

This 3-part lecture series includes some fascinating insights on game theory, the uncertainty that rules our daily life and to which extent common knowledge affects our decisions. The talks are appropriate for a general audience since it does not require knowledge in mathematics. Thus, whether a high school or university student, or a distinguished professor, everyone will learn something new. The only thing you need to bring with you is your curiosity. Part of the talk is interactive, so you will have the chance to actively participate, in an effort to give answers to fundamental philosophical and practical questions.

  1. Knowledge and common knowledge in multi-agent systems

Time: 9:00AM, December 12, 2020

  1. Using Multi-Agent Systems to Represent Uncertainty

Time: 8:00PM, December 18, 2020

  1. Actual Causality: A Survey

Time:  January 2021 (exact date TBD)

December 16, 2020

Integrating Teaching, Research, and Industry Relations for Synergy and Relevance 

The aim of this talk is to develop the ideas that teaching, research and industry relations are complementary.  By industry relations, I mean interacting with industry, selecting research problems of interest to industry, and writing for the industry audience. I will use two personal examples of the linkage between the three areas. The first example, in the domain of workforce scheduling, developed from my dissertation and main research agenda pre-tenure.  That lead to a complex scheduling black-box program I created for a large hospitality company, a primer series of four industry-oriented reports, and to material that I still use in class.  The second example, restaurant operations optimization, was driven by an Excel®-based simulation model I created for an undergraduate class.  The evolved into a research tool which lead to 13 academic papers and 9 industry-focused reports and tools.  I will show a short demo of the current version of the teaching simulator, which continues to evolve as students use it in class.