Waleed Meleis

Vice Provost for Graduate Education,  Office of the Provost
Associate Professor,  Electrical and Computer Engineering
Affiliated Faculty,  Bioengineering



  • 217 Mills Hall

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Research Focus

Combinatorial optimization, function approximation for large-scale machine learning, platforms for large-scale social experimentation, assistive technology


Waleed Meleis received the BSE degree in Electrical Engineering from Princeton University in 1990, and the MS and PhD degrees in Computer Science and Engineering from the University of Michigan in 1992 and 1996. In 1996 he joined the Computer Engineering Group of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Northeastern University. Prof. Meleis served as Associate Chair of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering from 2016 to 2019, as Interim Associate Dean for Graduate Education from 2019-2020, as Associate Dean for Graduate Education from 2020-2022, and as Vice Provost for Graduate Education since January 2023.

As Associate Dean, Prof. Meleis oversaw graduate recruitment, admissions, advising, academic operations, online instruction, and PhD student development for the College of Engineering’s 57 certificate, master’s, and PhD programs. Under his leadership, graduate enrollment increased 39% and the fraction of PhD admissions offers with guaranteed five-year funding increased to more than 95%. The College introduced ten new graduate programs, certificates, and concentrations, including new collaborations with other colleges, and more than 500 new PlusOne pathways. The College also deployed six programs to our campuses in Seattle, Vancouver, Toronto, and Portland.

Prof. Meleis is currently serving as Vice Provost for Graduate Education where he works to provide graduate students with an outstanding academic experience across our colleges and campuses, increase the quality and sustainability of our graduate programs, and serve as the Provost’s Office’s academic point of contact for the development and management of graduate programs. In September 2023, Prof. Meleis was appointed to an additional role as Interim Vice Provost and Academic Lead for the Oakland campus where he supports our academic offerings and research activities. In that role, he works with the leadership team of the campus, Mills College at Northeastern and other academic colleges, and support units across the university to ensure that research, educational programming, and associated academic functions operate effectively on the Oakland campus.

Prof. Meleis founded and advises Enabling Engineering, an innovative engineering student group that designs and builds devices to empower individuals with physical and cognitive disabilities. Participating students collaborate with clients on projects that provide greater independence, reduce medical burdens, and increase social connectedness. The group helps family members, clinicians, and teachers care for people with disabilities. By giving students the opportunity to participate in Enabling Engineering projects, the group is training the next generation of engineers to be knowledgeable about, and aware of, the needs of individuals with disabilities. The group has given more than 700 students from across the university the chance to work on 60 practice-oriented projects with clinical collaborators and community partners. The group is self-supporting, having received more than $350K in external funding. Enabling Engineering projects have been profiled by CNN, Engadget, Forbes, PC World, and Herald News.

Prof. Meleis has been leading an innovative, interdisciplinary Dialogue of Civilizations trip to Italy and the UK on Scientific Revolutions since 2015. The goal of the Dialogue is to understand two revolutions in scientific thought, the Scientific Revolution of the 17th century and the Computational Revolution of the 20th century. The courses trace the evolution of science starting in ancient times, makes connections to the local environment, and then discusses practical implications of these ideas for modern scientists


  • PhD, University of Michigan, 1996

Honors & Awards

  • 2003: Martin W. Essigmann Outstanding Teaching Award
  • 2008: Martin W. Essigmann Outstanding Teaching Award
  • 2008: Center for Innovative Course Design Teaching Award
  • 2010: Eta Kappa Nu Professor of the Year Award (2010)
  • 2012: National Academy of Engineering’s Frontiers of Engineering Education Symposium
  • 2014, 2015: Recognized by Delta Zeta sorority for teaching excellence
  • 2015: COE Fostering Engineering Innovation in Education Award
  • 2015: Black Engineering Student Society Professor Appreciation Award
  • 2016: Fostering Engineering Innovation in Education Award 
  • 2019: Outstanding Faculty Service Award

Research Overview

Combinatorial optimization, function approximation for large-scale machine learning, platforms for large-scale social experimentation, assistive technology

Prof. Meleis’s research is in three broad areas: 1) applications of algorithm design to diverse engineering problems, including multi-agent learning, cloud computing, spectrum management, high-performance compilers, instruction scheduling, and parallel programming; 2) development of online platforms for experimentation in the social sciences; and 3) development of devices to aid in rehabilitation. Prof. Meleis has supervised 6 PhD and 5 MS thesis students.

Professor Meleis has developed and evaluated algorithms and bounds for combinatorially difficult optimization problems. He has made contributions to the following areas:

  • Optimal scheduling and register allocation, with spill code, for multiple-issue processors
  • Microprocessor-aware scheduling algorithms for modern compilers
  • Algorithms for weighted-completion time scheduling
  • Design and analysis of tight lower bounds on schedule length
  • Backtracking acyclic schedulers
  • Parallel and scalable processing systems and programming toolsets.
  • Computational infrastructure for seamless, inter-site Grid computing
  • Applications of combinatorial optimization to switching, testing, and reconfigurable computing
  • Multiagent machine learning for distributed combinatorial optimization

Prof. Meleis developed a family of highly-effective function approximation algorithms based on Kanerva Coding that can be used to apply reinforcement learning to large-scale optimization problems. He then showed that these techniques can be successfully applied to to large-scale problems in multi-agent learning, network congestion control, and spectrum allocation for cognitive radio.

Prof. Meleis is a founder of the Volunteer Science web platform to support large-scale social experimentation. The platform facilitates online experimentation by scholars across the social, behavioral, and economic sciences and the development of empirical studies, analytic engines, and long-term data storage and access for communal research. The project is funded by the Army Research Lab and currently supports more than 30 ongoing experiments. Users of the platform include researchers at Harvard, MIT, NYU, Johns Hopkins, Northeastern, Illinois, Univ. of Vermont, ARL, Northwestern, UCSB, and the Max Planck Institute.

Prof. Meleis developed and evaluated assistive technology with colleagues in Bouve. This includes the FITBoard rehabilitation tool for children, where clinical trials were conducted to evaluate the tool’s effectiveness, and communication tools for children in Ecuador.

Selected Publications

  • W. Li, W. Meleis, Adaptive Adjacency Kanerva Coding for Memory- Constrained Reinforcement Learning, In International Conference on Machine Learning and Data Mining in Pattern Recognition (MLDM), Springer, New York, 2018
  • D. Levac, H. Dumas, W. Meleis, Development and Preliminary Usability Evaluation of a Tablet-Based Interactive Movement Tool for Pediatric Rehabilitation, JMIR Rehabilitation Assistive Technologies 25(2), 2018, e1030
  • W. Li, F. Zhou, K. Chowdhury, W. Meleis, QTCP: Adaptive Congestion Control with Reinforcement Learning, IEEE Transactions on Network Science and Engineering, 2018, 1-1
  • W. Li, F. Zhou, W. Meleis, K. Chowdhury Dynamic Generalization Kanerva Coding in Reinforcement Learning for TCP Congestion Control Design, Proceedings of the 16th International Conference on Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems, Sao Paolo, Brazil, 2017
  • J. Radford, A. Pilny, A. Reichelmann, B. Keegan, B. Welles, J. Hoye, K. Ognyanova, W. Meleis, D. Lazer, Volunteer Science: An Online Laboratory for Experiments in Social Psychology, Social Psychology Quarterly, 79(4), 2016

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High School Students Participate in Enabling Engineering Project

High school students participating in an Enabling Engineering internship program designed a training tool to identify and treat femoral hematomas and improved a wheelchair camera mount.

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Congratulations RISE: 2021 Winners

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Apr 29, 2019

Enabling Engineers Group Builds Prototypes to Improve Lives

The Enabling Engineers student group have designed products such as a bow and arrow for the visually impaired and a one handed guitar to improve the lives of people with physical and cognitive disabilities. ‘We don’t just build something in a vacuum’ Kevin Leiser starts with his eyes closed and his back to the target. […]


Apr 29, 2019

Faculty and Staff Awards 2019

Congratulations to all the winners of the faculty and staff awards, and to everyone for their hard work and dedication during the 2018-2019 academic school year. See Photo Gallery Faculty Fellow Matthew Eckelman, CEE Yongmin Liu, MIE Outstanding Teacher of First Year Engineering Students Joseph Depasquale, Chemistry Brian O’Connell, FYE Sumi Seo, Mathematics Matthew Webber, […]


Nov 08, 2017

Enabling Engineering Podcast Featuring ECE Professor Waleed Meleis

How do we design for the large part of the population with varying physical and cognitive abilities? In this What's New podcast, Waleed Meleis, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering, discusses the mission, innovations, and impact of the student-led club Enabling Engineering group, which designs and builds low-cost devices for those with physical and […]


Jan 30, 2017

ECE Faculty Meet With Student Advisory Board

ECE Interim Chair Miriam Leeser, Associate Chair Waleed Meleis, and Associate Professor Purnima Ratilal-Makris met with undergraduate students in the ECE Student Advisory Board to discuss their experiences in the department. The Student Advisory Board is planning on meeting with the department regularly throughout the year. We look forward to continuing the conversation.


Oct 24, 2016

Dialogue of Civilizations trip to Italy, Summer 2 2017

What do weather prediction, the stock market, and phone call routing have to do with Galileo, Newton, and Leonardo da Vinci?  Come to Italy to find out! Italy and the Scientific Revolutions Instructor: Prof. Waleed Meleis This Dialogue studies two revolutions in scientific thought: the Scientific Revolution of the 17th and 18th centuries and the […]

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Advancing Teaching and Learning at Northeastern

Northeastern has awarded grants to two groups of faculty to promote Advancing Teaching and Learning at Northeastern.

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Faculty and Staff Awards 2016

2016 Faculty and Staff Awards Congratulations to all the winners of the faculty and staff awards, and to everyone for their hard work and dedication during the 2015-2016 academic school year. Faculty Fellow Kaushik Chowdhury, ECE Carol Livermore, MIE Marilyn Minus, MIE Rising Star Staff Award Gabrielle Fiorenza, Co-op Nicole Nightingale, Dean’s Office Outstanding Teachers […]

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