Phyllis Rye earned a Bachelor’s degree in Physics from Radcliffe College in 1946. She joined the software department of the MIT Instrumentation Laboratory in 1961. During the Apollo Program Rye worked with Margaret Hamilton and Bruce McCoy on the programming for the Apollo Guidance Computer. One program she worked on, COLUSSUS, was the lunar flight program for the Command Module.
Rye worked on several other projects during her time at MIT/Draper including several Air Force projects, a helicopter project for Sikorsky Helicopter, and instrumentation support for Collins Radio testing GPS receivers onboard a test aircraft using ground-based GPS transmitters. She was also task leader for development of the Space Shuttle Backup Flight Software from 1979-1983.
Retiring from Draper in 1985, she went on to co-found RDH Associates; a commercial software company. Rye subsequently retired from RDH in 1990 but remained a consultant on software projects for both the Air Force and NASA until 2000. In her spare time, Rye was a competitive backgammon and bridge player and traveled to cities across the United States to compete in tournaments.