Abhiram Kothapalli





Ph.D. student at Carnegie Mellon University. Broadly interested in computer security, cryptography, formal methods, and distributed systems. Specifically interested in constructing and analyzing secure cryptographic systems.


Computer Security, Cryptography, Formal Methods, and Distributed Systems


Carnegie Mellon University

Graduate Research Assistant, Computer Science Department

Advisor: Bryan Parno

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

B.S. Computer Science, B.S Mathematics.

Advisors: Andrew Miller, Nikita Borisov


Sandia National Laboratories - Summer 2017, Summer 2018

  • Analyzed system logs using graph theoretical techniques
  • Build an intrusion detection system
  • Built a compiler that converts a simple state machine domain specific language into Solidity, Ethereum's dominant programming language. Additionally built a decompiler that converts a limited subset of LLVM IR into Solidity.
  • Designed a novel algorithm to split and merge regexes with the intent of improving regexes over time using positive examples. Overall these trained regexes served to create accurate abstractions of data to aid intrusion detection.

Decentralized Systems Lab - Fall 2016 - Spring 2018

Ongoing effort to construct self-reliant and resilient distributed systems. Worked on developing a modified process calculus to model interactive Turing machines in the Universal Composability security framework.

Information Trust Institute - Summer 2016

Researched applications of decentralized consensus protocols for the blockchain environment. Created SmartCast, a protocol which enforces consensus among nodes using smart contracts. Gained knowledge in consensus protocols, cryptocurrencies, and game theory.

Illinois Security Lab - Fall 2015 - Spring 2016

Worked on network protocol that allows clients to easily access data from encrypted databases. Previously worked on a protocol to limit extortion in the Bitcoin environment by limiting potentially dangerous communication.

Upthere Inc. - Summer 2014

Small startup in Palo Alto, CA. Worked on quality assurance of the Upthere Home Macos application.


  • Kothapalli A., Miller A., Borisov N. (2017) SmartCast: An Incentive Compatible Consensus Protocol Using Smart Contracts. In: Brenner M. et al. (eds) Financial Cryptography and Data Security. FC 2017. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol 10323. Springer, Cham
  • Regex-Based Linkography Abstraction Refinement (In submission at a workshop associated with ACM CODASPY'18)


  • The Art of Cryptography: Zero Knowledge Proofs, Summer 2018
  • Payment Channels under the Universal Composability Framework, Fall 2018
  • Exploring Compile Chains Targeting Solidity. Illinois Cybersecurity Seminar, Fall 2017
  • SmartCast: An Incentive Compatible Consensus Protocol Using Smart Contracts. Workshop on Trusted Smart Contracts, Spring 2017.
  • Building a Brave New World: The Science of Blockchains. CS @ Illinois SAIL, Spring 2017
  • A Bribery Framework Using Smart Contracts. CS 598: Cryptocurrency Security, Fall 2016
  • Passing Secrets Online Using Public Key Encryption. CS @ Illnois SAIL, Spring 2016
  • Encrypting Databases to Mitigate Server Breaches. PURE Poster Session, Spring 2016


Illinois Cyber Security Scholar

Fully funded under the CyberCorps Scholarship for Service (SFS) NSF Grant to pursue a cyber security focused degree.


  • Formal Verification of Consistent Broadcast using F*
  • ZKPass: A zero knowledge based secret sharing and authentication scheme
  • Dolev-Strong: Implemented the Dolev Strong Consensus protocol to emperically test network properties for SmartCast
  • Bribery Smart Contract: Built a Ethereum Smart Contract that facilitates anonymous bribery as a proof of concept
  • Octave: Generative music using genetic algorithms
  • Electron Chess: Chess with a minimalistic and appealing UI built using Electron
  • Stock Trading Framework: Allows users to develop scripts to algorithmically trade US stocks