Jess Woods

I'm a PhD student in Computer and Information Science at the University of Pennsylvania, advised by Sebastian Angel in the Security and Privacy Lab (within the Distributed Systems Lab). I'm interested in applied cryptography and it's crossover with programming languages. My recent work has been in compilers for zero-knowledge proofs. I'm also passionate about making math/computer science education better and more accessible.

I'm happy to talk about any of my papers/accompanying code - especially if you are using my arithemtic circuit code or trying to build/integrate similar code into your project. I'm interested in a community college teaching position when I finish my PhD.

he/him | woodsjk (at) | GitHub | LinkedIn | CV

Picture (me!)


Statistics I, Instructor, Prison Teaching Initiative, Princeton, NJ

Fall 2024, Spring 2025

High School Java, Instructor, Heights, Philadelphia, PA

Summer 2021, Summer 2024

Undergraduate Research in Cryptography, Graduate Research Mentor, UPenn

Spring 2024

Computer and Network Security, Head TA & Lecturer, UPenn

Fall 2021, Spring 2022, Summer 2022, Fall 2023

TA Award for Excellence (Student Nominated)

Discrete Math, TA & Lecturer, UNC

Fall 2018, Spring 2019

K-12 Math, Instructor, Reading Writing Arithmetic Center, Chapel Hill, NC

Summer 2018


MSE, Computer & Information Science, University of Pennsylvania, 2023

BS, Computer Science & BA, Studio Art, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2019

Highest Distinction

AA, Isothermal Community College, Spindale, NC, 2015


Reef: Fast Succinct Non-Interactive Zero-Knowledge Regex Proofs

with* Sebastian Angel, Eleftherios Ioannidis, Elizabeth Margolin, Srinath Setty

paper @ USENIX Security 2024 | code | extended eprint

Flamingo: Multi-Round Single-Server Secure Aggregation with Applications to Private Federated Learning

Yiping Ma, Jess Woods, Sebastian Angel, Antigoni Polychroniadou, Tal Rabin

paper @ S&P 2023 (Oakland) | code

Efficient Representation of Numerical Optimization Problems for SNARKs

with* Sebastian Angel, Andrew J. Blumberg, Eleftherios Ioannidis

paper, talk @ USENIX Security 2022 | code | extended eprint

OpenMDlr: Parallel, Open-source Tools for General Protein Structure Modeling and Refinement from Pairwise Distances

Russell B. Davidson, Jess Woods, T. Chad Effler, Mathialakan Thavappiragasam, Julie C. Mitchell, Jerry M. Parks, Ada Sedova

applications note @ Bioinformatics 2022 | code

Modeling protein structures from predicted contacts with modern molecular dynamics potentials: accuracy, sensitivity, and refinement

Russell B. Davidson, Mathialakan Thavappiragasam, T. Chad Effler, Jess Woods, Dwayne A. Elias, Jerry M. Parks, Ada Sedova

paper @ ACM-BCB 2021 | code

*authors ordered alphabetically

Other Research

Vulnerability testing for post quantum lattice cryptography implementations

Jess Woods, Jennifer Cordaro

Internal SNL Work, 2022

poster @ SNL | code

Programming models for fully homomorphic encryption on a supercomputer

Jess Woods, Ada Sedova, Oscar Hernandez

ORNL Student Project, 2020

talk @ P3HPC 2020 | ignite talk, python talk, poster @ ORNL | c++ code | julia code | python code

Using Python for Improved Productivity in HPC and Data Science Applications: the Time is Now,

Jess Woods, Matthew Baker, Mathialakan Thavappiragasam, Ada Sedova, Oscar Hernandez, Vivek Sarkar

white paper @ Collegeville Workshop 2020

Professional Experience

Computer Security Consultant @ EcoGather, Sterling College, VT

July 2023, July 2024

Research Internship @ Center for Cyber Defenders, Sandia National Laboratories

PIs: Jennifer Cordaro, Chris Jenkins, Benjamin Jackson

May 2022 - September 2023

Thunderbird Kudos Award

Research Internship @ Center for Molecular Biophysics, Advanced Computing System Research, Oak Ridge National Laboratory

PIs: Oscar Hernandez, Ada Sedova

June 2019 - July 2020

Fun Stuff

I like camping, painting, baseball, and programming 80s-style text-based adventure games. Send me an email if you want to play a weird text adventure game that teaches you cryptography. I'm also the barber third of Albuquerque's One Stop Shop.