NeurIPS is considered the “Oscars” in the field of artificial intelligence around the world. What research did VinAI bring to NeurIPS and what made it confidently choose this “big stage” to launch the research?

Anyone who studies AI has the same dream of having articles published at NeurIPS. Every year, only 20 per cent of the submitted research articles “pass” the rigorous evaluations from the jury of the world’s leading council of scientists. NeurIPS is the best place to publish research results.

VinAI has submitted six articles, two of which have been approved by NeurIPS. This is the first time Vietnam has had articles published at the world’s leading conference on AI and machine learning. It is the second after Singapore in Southeast Asia to have done so.

NeurIPS is also a venue where leading companies and tech groups around the world such as Google, Facebook, Apple, Amazon, and Microsoft come to “find talent”. VinAI also went to the conference to build a research network and select the best experts.

On what matters does VinAI’s research articles focus? Can this research be widely applied?

The two VinAI articles published at NeurIPS focus on the issue of making optimal decisions in an online interaction environment. Decisions made will interact with the environment and directly affect future system data. For example, when shopping online, search engines cannot only give suggestions according to customer habits but also bring a new experience as desired. This feature is currently not available in the market.

These research articles also have many applications for real-world sequential decision making, such as web advertising, making suggestions, making recommendations, digital marketing, and adjusting the super parameters of machine learning algorithms, etc. With Vingroup’s multidisciplinary ecosystem, studies from VinAI will soon be put into practical use.

Scientific research results must take time to be published. But with two articles at NeurIPS after only eight months of establishment, did VinAI skip any steps for publishing?

With the determination to build a domestic research institute in artificial intelligence, we set our own high targets from the beginning. The most important aspect is human resources. VinAI gathered Vietnamese scientists and international experts with a reputation in the field of artificial intelligence and global achievements to be able to embark on researching AI immediately. In addition, VinAI cooperated with leading research institutes and technology universities in the world to create networks of exchange and research and give AI solutions for their problems.

With the purpose of bringing Vietnam’s artificial intelligence from the “white area” of the world of AI, what does VinAI expect from this honor?

In the tech world, AI is the leading issue of most concern. The fact that VinAI has scientific works published at this global conference has made a mark in the tech community, empowering and expressing Vingroup’s future in its transformation into a leading technology corporation.

More importantly, now being well-known in the tech industry, VinAI can easily recruit the world’s leading experts to work in Vietnam. At the same time, our cooperation with top universities and research institutes on artificial intelligence creates very good conditions for famous scientists to come to Vietnam to exchange expertise and improve learning opportunities.

More broadly, what will the domestic AI community, especially the talented young scientists in the country, be able to gain when known by the world?

VinAI wants to contribute its voice to the world of artificial intelligence research and show that Vietnam has top-notch, high-quality scientific research by excellent human resources.

When Vietnam has its name on the world AI map then there are more and more young scientists, and major tech companies and corporations will surely come to the country to open up representative offices, bringing the world of AI advances to Vietnam. Outstanding Vietnamese scientists will have a good domestic environment to contribute to the development of Vietnamese science and technology.

With such a promising start, what goals have you set for VinAI for the next five to seven years?

VinAI aims to have dozens of international articles published at world-class AI conferences like NeurIPS. In research conducted with the world’s leading AI institutes and schools, VinAI’s team can be at the top of the topics.

In addition, the incubation program at VinAI will also take young tech talent to the top environments in the world. In particular, VinAI will soon put its research into practical application, not only within the Vingroup ecosystem. It aims to be able to “export” its studies and gradually become financially autonomous.

NeurIPS (Neural Information Processing Systems) 2019 took place from December 8 to 14 in Vancouver, Canada. This is the No. 1 conference in the world on AI and machine learning. With more than 10,000 attendees, NeurIPS welcomed many leading experts in academia. This year’s conference had a total of 1,428 articles approved, out of a total of 6,743 submitted. With two articles from VinAI, this is the first time Vietnam has had research articles published at the conference.