This Zombie Apocalypse Simulator Lets You Watch The Infection Spread Like Wildfire Across America

11.16.15 2 years ago 6 Comments
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Matt Beirbaum

Ever wonder how the zombie apocalypse would spread across the United States of America? Shows like The Walking Dead have done a good job of dramatizing what things would look like on the ground, but we never really got to see how things progressed from a more scientific point of view.

Until now. Programmer Matt Bierbaum has created a website called Zombietown USA, a “disease dynamics simulation of zombism across the USA” using “Gillespie dynamics on block level census data from 2010 using 308 million people interacting across the continental U.S.” I have no idea what any of that means, but it sure sounds sciencey to me. Here’s how they explain it:

We start with a simple model of zombies, the SZR model. There are three compartments in the model: S represents the susceptible population, the uninfected humans, Z represents the infected state, zombies, and R represents our removed state, in this case zombies that have been terminated by humans (canonically by destroying their brain so as to render them inoperable). There are two transitions possible: a human can become infected if they are bitten by a zombie, and a zombie can be destroyed by direct action by a human. There are two parameters governing these transitions: β, the bite parameter determines the rate at which a zombie will bite a human if they are in contact, and κ the kill parameter that gives the rate that a human kills the zombie.

As cool as it is, this seems like an incomplete simulation — the current iteration has the zombie plague spreading at the speed zombies can shuffle along on foot. We all know what would really happen; bitten and infected people would drive cars and hop planes and do all sorts of other dumb stuff to increase the speed of infection.

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AMC

Then there’s all the other variables not taken into consideration — lockdowns, quarantines, wiping out overrun areas with bombs. Okay, perhaps we’re asking too much from this disease simulator. If you want to see a graphical representation of the spread of infection based on a couple of variables, play with this thing. If you want a more involved breakdown of how it would all play out, just read World War Z. The book, not the movie.

And check out some of Matt’s other simulations; he’s done some pretty interesting mathematical models on such unconventional topics as moshpits and beer pong.

(via Reddit)

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