Zombie infection rates modeled

by panglott

Good news! How would a zombie invasion play out in the US? These scientists modeled it.:

The zombie simulator is based on a real-life disease model known as SIR (which stands for “susceptible, infected, and resistant”). The researchers developed simulations based on variables like how fast zombies move, how often humans kill them, and how often bites occur. The team is presented its results at the 2015 American Physical Society March Meeting.

“Modeling zombies takes you through a lot of the techniques used to model real diseases, albeit in a fun context,” Alemi said in a statement. “Each possible interaction — zombie bites human, human kills zombie, zombie moves — is treated like a radioactive decay, with a half-life that depends on some parameters, and we tried to simulate the times it would take for all of these different interactions to fire, where complications arise because when one thing happens it can affect the rates at which all of the other things happen.”

The simulator allows you to control various factors, like the “bite-to-kill” ratio — a measure of how likely zombies are to bite humans versus how likely humans are to kill zombies. (The researchers told Jacob Aron of New Scientist that an 0.8 bite-to-kill ratio was roughly the value they found for movies like Shaun of the Dead…) …When I ran the zombie simulator using the default assumptions, it took several months for zombies to overrun the entire United States. Cities fell astonishingly quickly. But zombies were much slower to spread into rural areas. And areas like the northern Rockies remained zombie-free for a long time.

The first outbreak, of course, will be Pittsburgh or outlying farms.