Biographical Sketch

  • Vu was born in Hanoi (Vietnam) in 1970. He went to special math classes for gifted children at Chu Van An and Hanoi-Amsterdam high schools. In 1987, he went to Hungary for his undergraduate studies, and obtained his M. Sc in mathematics at the Eötvös University, Budapest, in 1994. His thesis supervisor was Tamás Szőnyi. He received his Ph.D. at Yale University, in 1998 under the direction of László Lovász (another Pólya prize winner). He worked as a postdoc at IAS and Microsoft Research (1998-2001). He joined the University of California, San Diego as an assistant professor in 2001 and was promoted to full professor in 2005. In Fall 2005, he moved to Rutgers University and stayed there until he joined Yale in Fall 2011. Vu was a member at IAS on three occasions (1998, 2005, 2007), the last time (2007) as the leader of the special program Arithmetic Combinatorics.


    In his PhD thesis, Vu, together with Kim, developed a theory for concentration of measure of polynomials (and non-Lipschitz functions in general). Later, as an application, he established a refinement of Waring's problem.

    In 2003, Vu and Szemeredi solved the Erdos-Folkman problem, answering the following question: How dense a set of positive integers should be so every sufficiently large integer can be represented as a subsum ?

    In 2006, with Tao and Vu published their book "Additive Combinatorics". Together, they developed the Inverse Littlewood-Offord theory for anti-concentration.

    In 2007, with Johansson and Kahn, Vu solved the Shamir conjecture in random graph theory. Among others, they established the sharp threshold for the existence of a perfect matching in a random hypergraph.

    In 2010, Terence Tao and Vu solved the circular law conjecture. A year later, they proved the "four moment" theorem, establishing universality of local law of eigenvalues of random matrices. Similar results were obtained around the same time by László Erdös, Horng-Tzer Yau, and Jun Yin;

    Awards and honors

    Vu was a recipient of an NSF Career Award and a Sloan fellowship.

    In 2008 he was awarded the Pólya Prize of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics for his work on concentration of measure.

    In 2012, Vu was awarded the Fulkerson Prize (jointly with Anders Johansson and Jeff Kahn) for the solution of Shamir problem. Also in 2012, he became a fellow of the American Mathematical Society. In the same year, he was a Medallion lecturer at the 8th World congress in Probability and Statistics, Istanbul.

    In 2014, he was an invited speaker at the ICM (Seoul). In 2020, he became a fellow of the Institute of Mathematical Statistics.

Contact Information

  • Address: Department of Mathematics, Yale University, 10 Hillhouse Avenue, New Haven, CT 06520

    Office: 454 Dunham Lab.

    E-mail: "at" yale "dot" edu




  • 1997: Teaching Assistant, Kharkiv National University, Ukraine

    1997-1998: Junior Visiting Professor, Politecnic Institute of Milan, Italy

    1998: Research Graduate Student, Friedrich Schiller University, Jena, Germany

    1999-2000: Teaching Assistant and Associate Instructor, University of Missouri-Columbia

    2000-2001: Research Postdoctoral Fellow, Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

    2001-2003: PIMS Postdoctoral Fellow, Pacific Institute for Mathematical Sciences and University of Alberta, Canada

    2002: Visiting Fellow, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia

    2003-2006: Assistant Professor, University of California, Davis

    2006: Visiting Professor, University of Paris-Est, France

    2006-2008: Associate Professor, University of California, Davis

    2008-2017: Professor, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

    2017-present: Professor, University of California, Irvine