Fil was raised in Manhattan Beach, CA. He received degrees in Math, Engineering Mechanics, and, after a few years in industry, a PhD in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University. He transplanted to New Hampshire and the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at UNH in 1965. He has taught a wide variety of courses and has done research in a number of areas including, digital signal processing and robots that learn using neural networks. [The UNH Robotics Lab was the first to demonstrate a robot that learned as it operated and to develop a biped that learned to walk. He was awarded an Alumni Association Distinguished Teaching Award in 1981.]
Fil retired from UNH in 1996 and has been active in a variety of activities. He has: played competitive badminton and volleyball, hiked and backpacked, white water kayaked, and more recently attempted to learn rhythm/jazz tap dance. He enjoys music, dance, theater, visual arts and woodwork (he built his own house). In the early 1960s he joined the Sierra Club (NH State Group Chair in the '70s), has been president of the Seacoast Jazz Society, on the board of the Portsmouth Percussive Dance Festival, and, as a result of his interest in grasses, has an ongoing project researching methods to eliminate the invasive Phragmites (common reed).