Chris Phifer

Research & Engineering

I strongly believe computer science is for everyone, but this certainly doesn’t mean that general-purpose programming is for everyone. I align my work at Galois with the goal of solving this dilemma, in particular by helping to build robust domain-specific languages and tools that give non-experts in computing the power to express problems/solutions in their domain with confidence and in familiar ways.


Chris earned their B.S. in Computer Science and Mathematics (with a minor in Philosophy) and M.S. in Computer Science at Tufts University. They completed their graduate program under the advisement of Norman Ramsey, with whom they worked to build a new course focused on the design and implementation of simple virtual machines for the performant execution of code compiled from small functional scripting languages.

As a Tufts student, Chris developed a love for teaching; they worked as a Teaching Assistant / Teaching Fellow nearly every semester, and contributed to efforts to standardize the TA hiring and training process to better serve students who are members of underrepresented and oppressed groups. To this day, they maintain their passion for education, and relish any opportunity to learn from and teach the people around them in an effort to normalize equitable collective teaching practices.

Chris joined Galois first as an intern the summer after completing their undergraduate studies, and went on to join the team of full-time Galwegians while completing their graduate program. Their current work is mostly in the space of language design, implementation, and usability; they’re also excited about formal methods/verification and using these tools to build robust, secure, and trustworthy computing systems more generally.

When they aren’t thinking about teaching or work, Chris can be found listening to music, playing piano, playing video/tabletop games, cooking, bartending, and obsessing over every dog/cat they see.