Jonathan Whetzel

R&D S&E, Cybersecurity

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R&D S&E, Cybersecurity


I am a Principal Member of Technical Staff at Sandia National Laboratories within the Cyber Systems Assessments department. I have been working for over 15 years on research and applications of serious games, artificial intelligence, cognitive modeling, and machine learning/data science to pertinent national security issues. I have served as Technical Director for video games, interactive simulations, and experimental wargames that have been deployed to the US Navy, US Air Force, Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of Energy.

I am also an Adjunct Lecturer in the Film and Digital Arts department at the University of New Mexico (, where I teach game development courses and mentor large game productions. My students have gone onto game development careers both at Sandia and within the video game industry.

I also hold a research appointment at the University of California, Berkeley on applications on machine learning for nuclear security (

I currently live in the San Francisco Bay Area, but still visit my adopted hometown of Albuquerque frequently.


Texas A&M University, MS in Computer Science


Selected Publications

  • Letchford,  J.,  Epifanovskaya,  L.,  Lakkaraju,  K.,  Armenta,  M.,  Reddie,  A.,  Goldblum, B. L., Whetzel,  J., Reinhardt,  J.,  Balanaga, V.,  Chen,  A.,  Fabian,  N.,  Hingorani,  S.,  Iyer,  R.,  Krishnan,  R.,  Laderman,  S.,   Lee,  M., Mohan,  J.,  Nacht,  M.,  Prakkamakul, S., … Zhang, C. (2022).  Experimental Wargaming with  SIGNAL.  Military Operations Research, 27(2), 59–82.
  • McGuire, Z., Goldblum, B., Stewart, C., Whetzel, J., Wu, G., Boire, F., Nolte, N., Tibbetts, J., Abbott, R., Hashemizadeh, A. (2021). Multi-Class Clustering of Nuclear Reactor Power Levels for Transferable Classification. Sandia Technical Report. SAND2021-9181C.
  • Lakkaraju, K., Reinhardt, J., Letchford, J., Whetzel, J., Goldblum, B. L., & Reddie, A. W. (2020). Experimental Wargames to Address the Complexity–Scarcity Gap. In  2020 Spring Simulation Conference (SpringSim), pp. 1 – 12.
  • Raybourn E.M., Stubblefield W.A., Trumbo M., Jones A., Whetzel J., Fabian N. (2019) Information Design for XR Immersive Environments: Challenges and Opportunities. In: Chen, J., Fragomeni,  G. (eds) Virtual, Augmented  and  Mixed Reality. Multimodal Interaction. HCII 2019. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol 11574. Springer, Cham.
  • Lakkaraju, K., Epifanovskaya, L., Stites, M., Letchford, J., Reinhardt, J., & Whetzel, J. (2019). Online Games for Studying Human Behavior. Social-Behavioral Modeling for Complex Systems, pp. 387-406.
  • Fabian, N., Davis, W. Raybourn, E. M, Lakkaraju, K., Whetzel, J (2015). Grandmaster: Interactive text-based analytics of social media. IEEE International Conference on Data Mining Workshop, Atlantic City, NJ.
  • Alvardi, H., Lakkaraju, K., Sukthankar, G., Whetzel, J. (2014). Predicting Guild Membership in Massively Multiplayer Online Games. International Conference on Social Computing, Behavioral- Cultural Modeling, and Prediction. Springer International Publishing, pp. 215 – 221
  • Lakkaraju, K., Bernstein, J., Whetzel, J. (2014). Analyzing Effects of Public Communication onto Player Behavior in Massively Multiplayer Online Games. Predicting Real World Behaviors from Virtual World Data. Springer International Publishing, pp. 39 – 56.
  • Cardona-Rivera, R., Lakkaraju, K., Whetzel, J.H., Bernstein, J. R. (2013). Large Scale Conflicts in Massively Multiplayer Online Games. Complex Sciences. Springer International Publishing, pp. 40 – 51
  • Djordjevich, D. D., Xavier, P. G., Bernard, M. L., Whetzel, J. H., Glickman, M. R., & Verzi, S. J. (2008). Preparing for the aftermath: Using emotional agents in game-based training for disaster response. In 2008 IEEE Symposium on Computational Intelligence and Games, pp. 266-275