of Philip Greenspun; updated May 2023
- Business experience: started six companies and buried three. As
CEO, grew an open-source enterprise software company to $20 million
annual revenue in two years with $10,000 in capital. Served as
corporate board member for venture capital-backed MIT spinoff
- Software product development experience: 20 years. Same email
address since 1976: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Developing open source software since 1982. List of
engineering projects completed is available
- Pedagogy experience: Co-developed
"Software Engineering for Internet
Applications" with Hal Abelson at MIT; it has been a successful
course at MIT and is being used by computer science departments at 10
other universities around the world. Re-developed 16.687 for the MIT
Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics. Co-developed the RDBMS
materials for a Harvard Medical School course on computational medicine.
- Non-profit experience: Started a 501c3 foundation in December 1998.
The Foundation operated a prize program for high-school age Web
developers and a one-year post-baccalaureate program in computer
science; the annual budget was approximately $1.5 million.
- Political experience: Testified before the U.S. Senate Commerce
Committee and the Subcommittee on Patents, Copyrights and Trademarks
of the Senate Judiciary Committee
- Writing experience: four computer science textbooks, one book
about North America and its people, numerous journal and magazine
- Photography experience: started photo.net
in 1993, an online community for photographers. Work published in
dozens of print magazines and books and used for advertising
(see separate photo resume).
- Aviation experience: holder of Airline Transport Pilot certificate
with multi-engine, single-engine seaplane, and helicopter ratings;
holder of flight instructor certificate with instrument and helicopter
ratings; have flown single-engine aircraft to Alaska (twice) and just
about everywhere else in North America and the Caribbean; have flown
five coast-to-coast trips in Robinson helicopters; flew the Canadair
Regional Jet out of JFK for Delta Airlines
- Education: three MIT degrees (including a Ph.D., but you can't
call me "Dr. Greenspun" because my brother is a real doctor).
1991-present: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Teach and expand the MIT computer science curriculum, conduct
research, and supervise student research. Teach the most popular
course in the MIT Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 16.687
(via Zoom for 2021 and 2022, with approximately 1000 students total)
2018-present: Harvard University
Develop curricular materials for medical students and post-doc
researchers learning how to query a 12 TB insurance claims
database. Assist student groups with their analytics projects in SQL
Fall 2021: Florida Atlantic University
Teach Information Security at this 31,000-student branch of the State
University System of Florida.
2013-present: Fifth Chance Media LLC
I develop software, write, photograph, and create videos for this
publishing company whose current products are listed
at fifthchance.com. Through
Fifth Chance Media LLC I also work as
a software expert witness, especially
software patents (e.g., for Amazon, Ford, IBM, Microsoft, and the U.S. Department of Justice). I have also served as
an aviation expert
witness, testifying in front of a Federal Court jury, and as a
relational database expert
1993-2000; 2006-2007: photo.net
Started, programmed, financed, and managed this online learning
community as a personal hobby. Spun it off in 2000 to a team of
entrepreneurs who attempted to make it a profitable business. Took it
back over in mid-2006 to clean up the content, software, and balance
sheet (crippled with debt). With 600,000 registered users and 60
million page views per month, sold the company in April 2007 to
1997 through March 2000: ArsDigita Corporation
Started, financed, and managed this company, which developed an
open-source toolkit for building collaborative Internet applications.
Grew the company profitably from 5 part-time people to 80 full-timers
and revenue of $20 million per year. Between January and March 2000,
negotiated and closed a $38 million venture capital investment from
Greylock and General Atlantic Partners. Handed over the reins to a team
of professional managers brought in by the venture capitalists.
February 1988 through August 1990: Isosonics Corporation
Founded company to develop a product that stored digital data with
consumer video recorders. Co-designed custom digital signal
processor. Developed simulation environment, complete simulator for
digital audio recorder (1.4 Mbits/second), microcode compiler on the
Symbolics Lisp Machine. Used Lisp tools to develop error correction
microcode and refine DSP architecture. Co-designed three phase locked
loops. With partners, developed system for auditing television
broadcasts nationwide by monitoring commercials and compiling reports
for advertisers. We designed a single board that tunes a chosen
channel, recognizes tagged advertisements and makes a record for each
ad of time of broadcast, number of fields, video quality and color
burst presence. Served as president of Isosonics from its inception
until its dissolution.
April 1986 through November 1989: ConSolve Incorporated
Co-founded this construction automation company. With partner,
developed initial product, obtained financing (from PaineWebber
Ventures), hired software development, marketing and support
staff, established R&D partnership with Tektronix, obtained
government contracts and sold software. Was active participant
in all important planning, legal, and management activities.
Wrote every line of code in the first system shipped to a
November 1984 through August 1985: ICAD, Inc.
Co-founded company with three partners. With Patrick O'Keefe,
developed Lisp software to automate mechanical engineering.
System was initially primarily intended for large steel structures,
e.g., air-cooled heat exchangers, offshore oil rigs, coal-fired power
plants, but has been extended to many general ME problems.
Company went public in January 1995 as Concentra with a market
valuation of $50 million and was subsequently acquired by Oracle
June 1983 through November 1984: Symbolics, Inc.
Developed VLSI tools, including automatic layout functions and worked
on the system architecture for the Ivory microprocessor (the base of
all Symbolics products sold in the late 1980s). Wrote parts of the
Symbolics operating system.
June 1982 through June 1983: Hewlett-Packard Labs
Wrote packet-switched network simulation software on Symbolics Lisp
Machine. Helped architect, simulate and design prototype of HP's
Precision Architecture RISC computer. The prototype took two
man-years to complete and ran at VAX 11/780 speed in June 1983. This
architecture became the basis of HP's computer product line for 15
years and then became the basis for the 64-bit generation of Intel
1978 to 1982
Paid tuition and living expenses through MIT
with employment and contract work for Wang Laboratories, Verbex
Corporation, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and
Education (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
Ph.D. 1999 in electrical engineering and computer science. Thesis
title: Architecture and Implementation of Online
S.M. 1993 in electrical engineering and computer science. Thesis
title: Site Controller: A system for computer-aided civil
engineering and construction.
S.B. 1982 in mathematics. Completed coursework for electrical
engineering S.B. with emphasis on digital systems and signal
processing. Took undergraduate and graduate computer science
courses, with an emphasis on algorithms. Took graduate courses
in microeconomics and neurophysiology.
Selected Technical Publications
Software Engineering for Internet
Applications (online and MIT Press 2006),
Philip and Alex's Guide to Web Publishing
(Morgan Kaufmann; 1999),
Database Backed Web Sites (Ziff Davis
Travels with Samantha, a book about North America; SITE CONTROLLER: A system for computer-aided civil engineering and
construction.; various journal articles (most recent:
"Medication Use in the Management of Comorbidities Among Individuals With Autism Spectrum Disorder From a Large Nationwide Insurance Database,"
JAMA Pediatrics, June 2021); dozens of magazine
articles. United States patents
5,172,363 (digital audio recorder circuit),
(computer-aided earthmoving system).
Most of my relevant publications are linked