Phil Pfeiffer

Phil Pfeiffer's picture


Do you participate in any sports?: 
Currently, all non-competitive sports: scuba diving (including cave diving), day hikes, running (on treadmills nowadays--much kinder than pavement) and biking.
If you had to choose right now where you would spend the rest of your life, where would it be and what would you do there?: 
Diving, most anywhere with clear water and something interesting to see and help protect: e.g., Riviera Maya, British Columbia, Cayman.
What is the most unusual job you have ever held?: 
Lifeguard in a car wash :) ? Seriously, I've worked as a volunteer (Red Cross) lifeguard instructor; as an aide in a reading program; and as a vendor at Three Rivers Stadium, in Pittsburgh, PA. The latter was my summer job while I was in college.
What is your favorite guilty pleasure?: 
Bruce Timm videos of DC Comic book characters: Batman, Superman, Justice League, and Batman Beyond. I discovered them in 2008, some years after they came and went on the cartoon channel. Wonderful stuff.
What is your life philosophy?: 
Kindness in thought leads to wisdom; kindness in speech leads to eloquence; kindness in action leads to love. -- Lao-Tsu
Do you volunteer anywhere?: 
I think of the time that I put into my teaching right as volunteer work.
Favorite indoor activity:: 
Figuring out some way to get out of doors.
Why did you come to ETSU?: 
Because Dr. Barrett, whom I knew from graduate school, was here before me; because the place where I taught before ETSU was slow to modify its curriculum to mirror the changing face of computing; and because this department, under Dr. Countermine's leadership, has been a place where teaching counts, and where you can always make an argument for change, if you base it on a concern about the well-being of our students.
What is the best book you have read lately?: 
Hard to choose one. Here are a few of the books I've found memorable: Temple Grandin's Animals in Translation, Robert Kurose's Shadow Divers, Broughton Coburn's Everest: Mountain without Mercy, Neil Gaiman's Sandman graphic novels, Mark Bittner's The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill, Diane Wynne Jones's Howl's Moving Castle/Castle in the Air, Jane Stern's Ambulance Girl, Michael Oren's Six Days of War, Lincoln Hall's Dead Lucky, Gordon Livingston's Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart, and John Finestein's Caddy for Life.
Favorite outdoor activity:: 
Walking, biking or scuba diving. Hard to say that any is better than any other.
Favorite aspect of living at (or around) ETSU:: 
The area is less urban than any other place that we've lived: Pittsburgh, PA; Madison, WI; and East Stroudsburg, PA. It's good to be within 1-2 hours' drive of Bays Mountain (Kingsport), the Creeper and New River trails (Virginia), and Great Smokey Mountains NP.
Favorite local food source:: 
The Laughing Seed, in Asheville, NC. Johnson City is mostly a mecca for fried food, fast food, and chain food. At least we now have a Panera's and an Atlanta Bread Company.
Describe any research or special projects you've been working on:: 
Since November 2005, I've been advising for and working with a series of capstone projects that's attempting to create a highly configurable forms-based data entry system. It's the single largest and most difficult project that I've attempted in my multiple decades in computing, going 'way back to high school in 1970, and including my 7 years at PPG Industries, my 7 years in graduate school, and my time to date in teaching.
Phil Pfeiffer
Nicks Hall Room 4-467

Areas of Interest

  • High Performance Computing
  • Security
  • Programming languages

Classes Taught
CSCI 4617 - XML
CSCI 4417 - Introduction to System administration
CSCI 4717 - Computer architecture
CSCI 4727 - Operating systems
CSCI 5150 - Distributed operating systems
CSCI 5230 - Software project management
CSCI 5300 - Software design

Also:  language-related special topics courses (e.g., C++, Python);  multiple software capstone projects, related to ORNL data collection, high performance computing, and data entry for faculty activities.

Brief Biography
Professor Pfeiffer did his B.S in Yale University in 1976. He did his M.S and Ph.D in Wisconsin University. He worked as programmer in the Yale Registrar Office's from 1976-77; as a system analyst in PPG Industries' Glass Process Control Dvision from 1977-1984; and as a consultant for the former Supercomputing Research Center (Bowie, MD) from 1990-1994.

Personal Information
Hobbies: Day hikes, casual biking, scuba diving (including cave diving), reading (mostly history and non-fiction).

Additional Photos: