# Canadian mathematicians model zombie attack

• fourier jr

#### fourier jr

good to know! :tongue: & it would probably make learning about systems of ODEs much more interesting (or zombie movies much less interesting):

...the model focuses on modern zombies, which are “very different from the voodoo and the folklore zombies.” It takes into account the possibility of quarantine (could lead to eradication, but unlikely to happen) and treatment (some humans survive, but they still must coexist with zombies), but shows that there is only one strategy likely to succeed: “impulsive eradication.”

“Only sufficiently frequent attacks, with increasing force, will result in eradication, assuming the available resources can be mustered in time,” they concluded.

And if we don’t act fast enough?

“If the timescale of the outbreak increases, then the result is the doomsday scenario: an outbreak of zombies will result in the collapse of civilization, with every human infected, or dead,” they wrote. “This is because human births and deaths will provide the undead with a limitless supply of new bodies to infect, resurrect and convert.”

How fast do we need to deal with the outbreak? Here’s the equation they used, where S = susceptibles, Z = zombies and R = removed. If an infection breaks out in a city of 500,000 people, the zombies will outnumber the susceptibles in about three hours.

Maybe being a mathematician wouldn’t be so bad, after all.
http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2009/08/zombies/

they include the citation but not an actual link to the article, which is on robert smith's U of Ottawa page:
This is, perhaps unsurprisingly, the first mathematical analysis of an outbreak of zombie infection. While the scenarios considered are obviously not realistic, it is nevertheless instructive to develop mathematical models for an unusual outbreak. This demonstrates the flexibility of mathematical modelling and shows how modelling can respond to a wide variety of challenges in ‘biology’.

In summary, a zombie outbreak is likely to lead to the collapse of civilisation, unless it is dealt with quickly. While aggressive quarantine may contain the epidemic, or a cure may lead to coexistence of humans and zombies, the most effective way to contain the rise of the undead is to hit hard and hit often. As seen in the movies, it is imperative that zombies are dealt with quickly, or else we are all in a great deal of trouble.
http://www.mathstat.uottawa.ca/~rsmith/Zombies.pdf

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I can picture math teachers everywhere rejoicing that finally their students will pay attention.

MITACS actually funded this. :rofl:

so did nserc. your tax dollars at work!

This is, perhaps unsurprisingly, the first mathematical analysis of an outbreak of zombie infection. While the scenarios considered are obviously not realistic, it is nevertheless instructive to develop mathematical models for an unusual outbreak. This demonstrates the flexibility of mathematical modelling and shows how modelling can respond to a wide variety of challenges in ‘biology’.

The world does not need to be convinced in the flexibility of mathematics to be used to solve various problems. This research is an embarrassment.

This research is an embarrassment.

You say that now, but when they attack...

The world does not need to be convinced in the flexibility of mathematics to be used to solve various problems. This research is an embarrassment.
Your lack of humor does not justify condemning others who find joy in their work.

You go on studying abstract populations of type S, Z, and R. I'm going to study zombies. :tongue:

I'm going to study zombies. :tongue:

Scientists are always the first ones to die.

Because viewers hold less empathy to them as, let's say, the hot female protagonist.

Nice! I just nominated this research for the Ig Nobel prize.