Tuesday, 8 February 2011

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It is comforting to know that not all scientists spend their time evaluating a detail of a detail of a side theory that nobody is ever interested in. Some scientists, like this research group from Canada, decide to model a question a littler closer to everyday life. Their paper "When Zombies Attack!: Mathematical modelling of an outbreak of Zombie infection" explores survival changes of humanity as a whole under the threat of a zombie attack. We have all seen the movies but the picture painted in this paper is even bleaker.

Setting up a quarantine is futile and will only slightly delay the time it takes to destroy humanity completely. A stable equilibrium is only reached if a cure is available and even in this case, the human population is decimated painfully (see Section 5: A model with treatment). The Zombies can only be eradicated when it is possible to destroy zombies in progressively stronger bursts of attack. We all know how likely that is going to happen.

I suggest we better all work on our Zombie Defense Plans and keep that crowbar in a handy location. I won't go down without a fight.

By the way, this paper definitely wins the title of "Best Bibliography Ever". How many papers have you seen that manage to quote such classics as "Resident Evil", "The Zombie survival guide" and "Shaun of the Dead"?

1 comment:

  1. Such nonlinear models have sometimes counter-intuitive outcomes. There are models about infections, where it can be shown that a too weak attack against infectors increases their number. So the attack has to be sufficiently strong. In "Heuser; Differentialgleichungen" this fact is mentioned in the very last chapter if I remember right.

    Is your main interest nonlinear dynamics or zombies *GG*?


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