Skip to main content

Philip Gust

Clinical Instructor - Silicon Valley


Office Location

Northeastern University - Silicon Valley
6024 Silver Creek Valley Rd
San Jose, CA 95138

Mailing Address

Northeastern University
ATTN: Philip Gust, 202 WVH
360 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02115

Research Interests

  • Human-computer interaction
  • Long-term preservation and access to born-digital content


  • MS in Computer Science, University of Arizona
  • BS in Mathematics and Psychology, University of Arizona


Philip Gust is a clinical instructor at Northeastern University’s Khoury College of Computer Sciences in the Silicon Valley Campus. Gust has been working with computers for over 40 years. He learned to program in high school for a science fair project to land an unmanned spacecraft on Mars and return samples to earth. A NASA special award led to a job during college, working on unmanned spacecrafts, such as Mariner 10, Viking, and Voyager, that have visited every major planet in the solar system and beyond.

Gust taught computer science at the University of Arizona and wrote the textbook for one of the courses. Since then, he has served on the founding teams and worked at a number of companies, from large multinationals to startups. He has developed dozens of software products. His publications include journal and magazine articles as well as papers in conference proceedings. He is an active member in professional societies and a senior life member in the Association for Computing Machinery and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. He has served on boards of several commercial companies and nonprofits. He is an international award-winning costume designer and cosplayer, and editor of The Virtual Costumer magazine.

Gust teaches ALIGN courses at the new Silicon Valley campus of Northeastern University, including Intensive Fundamentals of Computer Science (CS 5001) and Discrete Math and Data Structures (CS 5002).

About Philip

Where did you grow up?

I was born and spent my early years in Michigan, but our family moved to Arizona when I was young. I fell in love with the Sonora desert and still consider Arizona home. I attended grade school and high school in Phoenix, and then attended the University of Arizona in Tucson.

What are the specifics of your educational background?

I have a master’s degree in computer science and completed my PhD coursework with a focus on text processing and document preparation systems. I have an BS in Mathematics with a focus on computability and computational mathematics, and a BS in Psychology with a focus in cognitive and experimental psychology.

What are your research interests?

My long-term research interest is human-computer interaction, with an emphasis on user interface design and computer-mediated collaboration. I founded the multi-user interface group at HP Labs, helped design the Xt toolkit, and co-invented the Shared X extension to X Windows. A more recent interest is in long-term preservation and access to born-digital content, including scholarly journals and books. At Stanford University, my work made the contents of LOCKSS digital repositories accessible to library users and enabled users to make semantic queries across preserved content repositories.

What are the specifics of your industry experience?

As an undergraduate, I worked for NASA on unmanned spacecrafts that visited all the major planets. During graduate school, I taught a number of courses in the new University of Arizona computer science department. After graduation, I worked at several Hewlett-Packard product divisions and started a new user interface research group at HP Labs. After working at several venture capitals and privately funded Silicon Valley startups, I joined an applied research group at Stanford University and finally returned to teaching computer science.

What do you enjoy or find most rewarding about what you teach? Is there anything notable or unique about the kind of students that you teach?

The ALIGN program helps students with no background in computing to pursue an advanced degree in computer science. The diversity of students and their backgrounds makes ALIGN classes both interesting and challenging to teach. My own interests are very broad so I really enjoy working with people from such diverse backgrounds. The diversity also means some students are more prepared than others, so the challenge is ensuring that everyone learns the material and no one is left behind. I’ll be experimenting with various techniques like study groups, team learning, and online communities so students can help each other to succeed.

Where did you study? Why?

I chose to study at the University of Arizona because of my interest in planetary sciences, since they have one of the top-rated astronomy and planetary sciences programs. However, funding for astronomy took a sharp downward turn part way through my degree program, so I decided instead to pursue a career in computer science, which was just emerging as a separate discipline. I continue to be interested in planetary sciences and using intelligent robots to explore the solar system and beyond.