Quoc Vinh Pham: Enjoys Machine Learning and Family Life at MIU

Vinh is happy doing his practicum remotely while living near MIU in Fairfield, Iowa.

Born into a farming family in western Vietnam, Quoc Vinh Pham never even heard about computer science until college. As a senior BS student at Ho Chi Minh University of Agriculture and Forestry (2008-2012), he started loving software development, because he figured out that he could build useful applications and websites to benefit others, and this gave him much joy.

Work history

Vinh Pham has 9 years of hands-on experience involving agile software development practices. For 8 years he did Java programming for multinational product companies from Europe and America before coming to MIU.

He was a co-founder and CTO of a fast-paced startup that provided SAAS (with $9 million VC funding), and has also been a Principal Software Engineer at Alibaba.


Vinh first learned about the Computer Professionals Master’s Program (ComPro) when we reached out to him via Linkedin in 2015. Since then, he heard more about MIU from friends and colleagues in Vietnam.

In early 2020, he applied for the November 2020 entry into our Master of Science program and planned to study Big Data and Machine Learning (ML). His idea was to apply Machine Learning to part of a new startup idea.

In the Machine Learning course, taught by Professor Emdad Khan, Vinh realized that fundamental theoretical and practical ML applications could help him do advanced research. Vinh and a classmate decided to take on a new topic for their course project. They chose to research Generative Adversarial Networks (GANs), which are algorithmic architectures that use two neural networks, pitting one against the other (thus the “adversarial”) in order to generate new, synthetic instances of data that can pass for real data. GANs are widely used in image generation, video generation, and voice generation.

In May 2022, at the request of Prof. Khan, Vinh and Jialei Zhang presented a technical webinar entitled, “Image and Video Synthesis using GAN & Deep Learning.” See their detailed presentation in the following video:

Currently, Vinh is working as a Product Engineer at CVS Health via Creospan (a technology consultancy) doing his optional practical training (OPT) practicum, where he is building a payment calculation system.


All the students, faculty, and MIU staff regularly practice the Transcendental Meditation® technique (TM). Vinh adds, “I enjoy doing TM—especially when I am stressed or under pressure. Doing TM during studying at MIU makes it easy to focus deeply on a topic. My brain seems to self-refresh when I practice twice each day. It also helps me gain more energy and productivity at work.”

Vinh’s family loves the fresh and peaceful environment in Fairfield.

“My wife and 4-year-old daughter came here a year ago, and we continue to enjoy the beautiful and peaceful life in Fairfield because I am now working remotely from here. We love walking along the Fairfield trail system and parks to enjoy the fresh air, discover wild edible plants, and go fishing. We also have a small vegetable garden in warmer weather,” explains Vinh.

Future Goals

When he first came to MIU, Vinh did some market research and could see the potential for a startup in Fairfield. He would like to create a new business in the US based on this research or a different idea in the future.


Based on his own experience, Vinh advises the following path for software developers to follow:

  1. Finish your undergraduate degree.
  2. Work in industry for 3-5 years.
  3. Pursue a master’s degree. This is a good time to compare, evaluate, and confirm the practical versus advanced theoretical knowledge to yourself. “I had a lot of ‘Ah-ha’ moments during studying at MIU.”