Laura Painton Swiler, Ph.D.




East High School





An engineer and a mathematician, Dr. Laura Swiler is a Principal Member of the Technical Staff in the Optimization and Uncertainty Quantification department at Sandia National Laboratories, a U.S. Department of Energy laboratory located in New Mexico. She is a recognized leader in the field of computational statistics, specifically the analysis of computer models. Currently, Laura is the Deputy Program Manager for the Validation, Verification, and Uncertainty Quantification program for NEAMS, the Nuclear Energy Advanced Modeling and Simulation program. In this role, she helps direct research that will help the next-generation nuclear codes (such as reactor simulations) to achieve science-based, predictive capabilities.

Laura began her career at Sandia working in reliability analysis for weapons applications and nuclear waste repository assessment. She then worked in the cyber-security area where she was instrumental in developing “attack graphs” to show likely paths computer attackers may take given a particular network structure. Laura led a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) project in this area and, together with a colleague, received a patent for her ideas.  For the past eight years, Laura has focused on sensitivity analysis, model validation, and uncertainty quantification.

Much of her personal time is spent mentoring young people, from elementary school through post-doctoral students, including her participation in the “Expanding Your Horizons” program to inspire middle school girls in science.

Laura has always exemplified academic excellence and was a National Merit Scholar at Williamsville East and Salutatorian of her graduating class. She has a Ph.D. in Engineering and Public Policy from Carnegie Mellon University, a master’s degree in Operations Research from Stanford University, and a bachelor’s degree in Applied Mathematics from Yale University where she graduated summa cum laude. She was inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society at Yale in 1986.