A Mathematical Model for Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse

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We may think we know how best to eradicate the zombie threat, but movies and books give us, at best, an anecdotal account of how to deal with the undead. A new paper, however, offers mathematical models for human survival.

In a paper published in Infectious Disease Modelling Research Progress, a team of mathematicians from Carleton University and the University of Ottawa have created a series of mathematical models to explore the effects of a zombie outbreak and determine the best course for human survival. For the purpose of the paper, the team limited their models to the George Romero slow-moving zombies, and created separate models for zombie infections that cause the infected to resurrect immediately after contact with a zombie and for zombie infections with a 24-hour incubation period.


The paper examines three possible methods of dealing with a zombie outbreak: quarantine of the zombies, treatment of zombies so that they once again become human, and impulsive eradication of the zombies whenever possible. The models found that quarantine could work, but the end result would be either the eradication of all zombies or the eradication of all humans; if a cure for being a zombie were found, humans would coexist with zombies, but only in low numbers; but eradication, if properly coordinated, could wipe out the entire zombie population in a mere ten days.

Science has proved it: aim for the head, and kill without mercy.

When Zombies Attack!: Mathematical Modelling of an Outbreak of Zombie Infection [University of Ottawa]