Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Why Can't I Be Researching This?

Having spent so much of my first two PhD years reading up on SIR models, I am disgusted to not have thought of this first: the zombie outbreak mathematical model. I am more upset still to learn that I am almost as interested in the maths itself as in what it tells us should we find ourselves under attack by shambling hordes of flesh-hungry undead.

The conclusions, unsurprisingly, is that the only two stationary distributions are zero zombies, and zero people (my long held liberal dream of peaceful coexistence is over!), and that if we want to avoid the latter state, we'd better take out the zombies as soon as humanly possible. This makes this particular research paper possibly unique. There are of course many academic publications that prove results that are breathtakingly obvious, but this might be the first time that someone has done it within a fictional setting. Next week, Robert Smith?[1] will prove that Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be want of a wife, and that only Imperial Stormtroopers are so precise (actually, that last one is probably genuinely pretty difficult).

h/t to Chemie.

[1] That's not a typo, that's his real name.


Garathon said...

Cremation? (h/t to Sam and Dean)

Also, I'm a bit rusty on this stuff, but doesn't the model with treatment allow for the possibility of headless living humans?

Pause said...

The maths are rather more trivial, but have a play around with the zombie infection simulation (and the links below it) as experimental evidence of the claims.