John McHugh was a professor in the Faculty of Computer Science at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada where he held a Canada Research Chair in Privacy and Security and directed the Privacy and Security Laboratory.

John McHugh left a position as senior member of the technical staff at CERT, part of the SEI at CMU to become the director of the new privacy and security lab at Dalhousie University. He was a professor and former chairman of the Computer Science Department at Portland State University in Portland, Oregon where he held a Tektronix Professorship. His research interests include computer security, software engineering, and programming languages. He has previously taught at The University of North Carolina and at Duke University. He has been an active researcher in the application of formal methods to the construction of dependable and secure systems for many years. He was the architect of the Gypsy code optimizer and the Gypsy Covert Channel Analysis tool.

Dr. McHugh received his PhD degree in computer science from the University of Texas at Austin. He has a MS degree in computer science from the University of Maryland, and a BS degree in physics from Duke University. He grew up in Durham, North Carolina, leaving when he graduated from Duke. Twenty years later, he returned, demonstrating that Thomas Wolfe was wrong. After another ten years in Durham, he moved to Portland, demonstrating, perhaps, that Wolfe knew what he was talking about after all.

Dr. McHugh left Dalhousie in November 2008, primarily because Dalhousie failed to keep a number of promises that they made when they recruited them. Foremost of these was an assurance that he was not subject to their mandatory retirement program. He was dismissed by retirement (to translate the French term for the practice) at the end of June 2007 and, although he was appointed to a post retirement appointment at the same salary, the post retirement appointment was inferior to a tenured faculty position in many ways, including fringe benefits. He has an action against the University pending with the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission. Dr. McHugh currently works for RedJack, LLC and holds a courtesy position at UNC.