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Violet Begonia
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PostSubject: The mathematics of zombies   Fri Aug 21, 2009 5:00 pm

http://www.mathstat.uottawa.ca/~rsmith/Zombies.pdf

A genuine scientific paper about the mathematics of the spread of a real zombie outbreak. Wow.

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PostSubject: Re: The mathematics of zombies   Fri Aug 21, 2009 7:33 pm

Heavens! We've come a long way from the day when academics stayed away from pop culture lest they damage their professorial reputations. Academics used to publish only things that were comprehensible to other professors, though these authors did lose me when they dug into the math. ;^)
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Dazaras

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PostSubject: Re: The mathematics of zombies   Sat Aug 22, 2009 2:45 am

Interesting, a friend of mine posted that same link on facebook a few days ago.

I read through the whole thing and the problems I have with it are as follows:
  • It is based on a standard infectious disease "SIR" model, which I think fails to adequately take into account all the variables in a real life zombie outbreak.
  • It only includes cases where beta > alpha, i.e. the zombies are better at killing humans than vice versa.
  • And finally, the Zeta R term in the Z' equation makes dead bodies (zombies who have been headshotted or decapitated) return to being zombies. This is fine for something like Urban Dead, but I would hope that headshotted zombies do not come back to life in a "real" zombie outbreak.

All in all, this is fine for a scientific paper on a fictional subject, but it does not satisfy me as an adequate model of what zombies should be like.
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