Mérouane Debbah

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Mérouane Debbah
Alma materÉcole normale supérieure Paris-Saclay
Scientific career
Fields6G, wireless communications, random matrix theory, game theory, statistical inference, machine learning
InstitutionsKhalifa University, Technology Innovation Institute, CentraleSupélec, University of Paris-Saclay, Huawei R&D France, Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence

Mérouane Debbah is a researcher, educator and technology entrepreneur. Over his career, he has founded several public and industrial research centers, start-ups and held executive positions in leading ICT companies. He is now professor at Khalifa University in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates and founding director of the Khalifa University 6G Research Center.[1] He is a frequent keynote speaker at international events in the field of telecommunication and AI. His research has been lying at the interface of fundamental mathematics, algorithms, statistics, information and communication sciences with a special focus on random matrix theory and learning algorithms. In the communication field, he has been at the heart of the development of small cells (4G), massive MIMO (5G) and large intelligent surfaces (6G) technologies. In the AI field, he is known for his work on large language models, distributed AI systems for networks and semantic communications. He received multiple prestigious distinctions, prizes and best-paper awards (more than 40 IEEE best-paper awards) for his contributions to both fields and according to research.com is ranked as the best scientist in France in the field of electronics and electrical engineering.[2]


Mérouane Debbah is a former student in Algeria of Lycée Cheikh Bouamama[3] (ex-Descartes, Algiers). After his classes préparatoires in Lycée Henri IV (Paris), he entered the École normale supérieure Paris-Saclay in 1996 and obtained his PhD degree in 2002. His PhD thesis focused on a mathematical framework called free probability theory for the design of wireless networks. He started his career at Motorola Labs in Saclay in 1999.

In 2002, he joined the Telecommunication Research Center of Vienna in Austria as a senior researcher. His work focused on designing and validating through measurement campaigns analytical approaches for the development of wireless MIMO channel models based on maximum entropy principles for 3G cellular systems.

From 2003 to 2007, he was an assistant professor at Eurecom in Sophia-Antipolis. His work focused mainly on the mathematical foundations of communication networks with the development of random matrix theory methods[4] and game theory methods for signal processing and wireless communications.

In 2007, he was appointed full professor at CentraleSupélec (campus of Gif-sur-Yvette) at the age of 31. At the same time, he founded and was director of the Alcatel-Lucent chair on flexible radio.[5] This was the first industrial chair in telecommunication in France with close ties between CentraleSupélec and Bell Labs.[6] The chair was at the heart of the development of the small cells and massive MIMO technologies, which were key technologies for respectively 4G and 5G. The chair focused also on training top scientists and formed more than 45 PhD and post-doctorial researchers, many of whom have become global leaders in the wireless communication society. By 2017, the telecommunication department of CentraleSupélec was ranked number one in France and number two in Europe.[7] During that period, the European Commission awarded him an ERC (European Research Council) grant on random complex networks and an ERC POC (proof of concept) on wireless edge caching.

In 2014, he joined Huawei France as vice-president R&D and was the founding director of the Huawei Mathematical and Algorithmic Sciences Lab[8] in Boulogne-Billancourt, with a special focus on mathematical sciences applied to wireless, optical and networking communications. At the end of 2019, the lab established had more than 200 researchers and was considered as one of the very top places in the world for industrial R&D in the field of communication networks. The initial focus of the lab on 5G and polar codes was a massive win for the company, which had built up a significant patents position in the domain. He contributed to more than 40 patents in the field.[9]

In 2019, in order to encourage more fundamental research and push the actual fundamental limits of the ICT industry, he put into place as founding director the Lagrange Mathematics and Computing Research center in Paris.[10] The research center focused on the promotion of fundamental research on the foundations of mathematics of computing and data science, as well as to expand the horizons of the field by exploring other scientific disciplines through a computational and mathematics lens.[11] The center, which hosted several Medal Fields,[12] was built on a unique innovative structure model for industry, based on open long-term research grants that support pioneering projects for top scientists.

In 2021, he joined the new Technology Innovation Institute in Abu Dhabi as chief researcher. The institute aimed to bring together top tier talent from across the globe to research and develop disruptive technological innovations for the benefit of science, the economy and the environment. He founded the AI and Digital Science Research Center with a focus on telecommunications, AI, and cyber-security. His initial focus of the center on Large Language Models was a massive win for the institute. By 2023, the center had more than 80 people and was pioneer in the development of large language models with the development of NOOR[13] (upon its release, largest language model in Arabic) released in 2022 and Falcon[14] LLM (upon its release, top ranked open source large language model[15]) released in 2023. These models have positioned the UAE as a global leader [16] in the generative AI field and the establishment of a few companies such as AI71.

In 2023, he was appointed full professor at Khalifa University in Abu Dhabi and established as founding director the Khalifa University 6G Research Center.

Awards and honors[edit]

  • SEE Blondel Medal (2020), IEEE/SEE Glavieux Prize Award (2011)[17]
  • IEEE Radio Communications Committee Technical Recognition Award (2019)[18]
  • Louis Bachelier Fellow (2021), AAIA Fellow (2021),[19] Eurasip Fellow for contributions to the theory and design of wireless networks (2021),[20] SEE Membre émérite (2018), IEEE Fellow for contributions to the theory and application of signal processing in wireless networks (2015),[21] WWRF Fellow (2008) [22]

His papers have received more than 40 awards,[23] among which:

  • 2023 IEEE Communications Society Award for Advances in Communication[24]
  • 2023 IEEE Communications Society Fred W. Ellersick Prize[25]
  • 2022 IEEE Communications Society Outstanding Paper Award[26]
  • 2022 IEEE GLOBECOM Best Paper Award.[27]
  • 2021 IEEE Marconi Prize Paper Award[28]
  • 2021 EURASIP Best Paper Award [29]
  • 2019 IEEE Communications Society Young Author Best Paper Award[30]
  • 2018 IEEE Marconi Prize Paper Award[31]
  • 2017 EURASIP Best Paper Award[32]
  • 2016 IEEE Communications Society Best Tutorial Paper Award[33]
  • 2015 IEEE Communications Society Leonard G. Abraham Prize[34]
  • 2015 IEEE Communications Society Fred W. Ellersick Prize[35]


  1. ^ "Merouane announced as founding director of the 6G center at Khalifa University".
  2. ^ "Research.com is a leading academic research portal that ranks the world's top scientists across different categories and serves as a global benchmark".
  3. ^ "Lycée Descartes Alger ; Lycée Fromentin Alger ; Lycée Bouamama Alger ; Algérie". www.lyceedescartesalger.fr (in French).
  4. ^ Couillet, Romain; Debbah, Mérouane (29 September 2011). Random Matrix Methods for Wireless Communications. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-1107011632.
  5. ^ "Alcatel-Lucent Chair on Flexible Radio".
  6. ^ "Merouane Debbah: At the heart of future telecommunications". Université Paris-Saclay. 23 September 2020.
  7. ^ "ShanghaiRanking's Global Ranking of Academic Subjects".
  8. ^ "Tangente Mag".
  9. ^ "Merouane Debbah's inventor profile on Google Patents".
  10. ^ "Huawei opens research center in Paris".
  11. ^ "Huawei opens Mathematics Research Center to drive ICT innovation". Financialexpress.
  12. ^ "Huawei and French mathematics". Financialexpress.
  13. ^ "NOOR LLM Model".
  14. ^ "Abu Dhabi-based TII launches its own version of ChatGPT".
  15. ^ "FALCON LLM".
  16. ^ "The UAE the third-most-important country for AI, after America and China".
  17. ^ "Joint Awards". Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).
  18. ^ "Awards – IEEE Communications Society Radio Communications Technical Committee".
  19. ^ "AAIA Fellows | Asia-Pacific Artificial Intelligence Association".
  20. ^ "EURASIP Fellows | European Association For Signal Processing".
  21. ^ "IEEE Fellows 2015 | IEEE Communications Society".
  22. ^ "WWRF Fellows | Wireless World Research Forum".
  23. ^ "Debbah's IEEE Author Profile".
  24. ^ "The IEEE Communications Society Award for Advances in Communication".
  25. ^ "The IEEE Communications Society Fred W. Ellersick Prize | IEEE Communications Society".
  26. ^ "IEEE Communications Society Outstanding Paper Award".
  27. ^ "Best paper award to Debbah's paper, "RSMA for Dual-Polarized Massive MIMO Networks: A SIC-Free Approach"".
  28. ^ "IEEE Marconi Prize Paper Award in Wireless Communications | IEEE Communications Society".
  29. ^ "EURASIP Best Paper Award".
  30. ^ "The IEEE Communications Society Young Author Best Paper Award | IEEE Communications Society".
  31. ^ "IEEE Marconi Prize Paper Award in Wireless Communications | IEEE Communications Society".
  32. ^ "2017 EURASIP Best Paper Award for the Journal on Wireless Communications and Networking | Large Networks and Systems Group (LANEAS)".
  33. ^ "The IEEE Communications Society Best Tutorial Paper Award | IEEE Communications Society".
  34. ^ "The IEEE Communications Society Leonard G. Abraham Prize | IEEE Communications Society".
  35. ^ "The IEEE Communications Society Fred W. Ellersick Prize | IEEE Communications Society".

External links[edit]