Canadians research zombie attacks

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Ottawa, Canada - Researchers from the University of Ottawa and Carleton University have produced a mathematical model to discover that, if there were to be a battle between zombies and the living, who would come out on top.


Indeed, it cannot be often that a research paper bears the title: WHEN ZOMBIES ATTACK! - MATHEMATICAL MODELLING OF AN OUTBREAK OF ZOMBIE INFECTION


Headed by Professor Robert Smith? - that's his real name, the question mark is to distinguish him from Robert Smith, lead singer of rock band The Cure, apparently - the paper models a zombie attack using biological assumptions based on popular zombie movies.


According to the paper's abstract:
"Zombies are a popular figure in pop culture/entertainment and they are usually portrayed as being brought about through an outbreak or epidemic. Consequently, we model a zombie attack, using biological assumptions based on popular zombie movies.


"We introduce a basic model for zombie infection, determine equilibria and their stability, and illustrate the outcome with numerical solutions. We then refine the model to introduce a latent period of zombification, whereby humans are infected, but not infectious, before becoming undead.


"We then modify the model to include the effects of possible quarantine or a cure. Finally, we examine the impact of regular, impulsive reductions in the number of zombies and derive conditions under which eradication can occur.


"We show that only quick, aggressive attacks can stave off the doomsday scenario: the collapse of society as zombies overtake us all."

That zombie equation in full


The researchers, who, along with Professor Smith? includes someone by the name of Joe Imad, say that the key difference between the models presented and other models of infectious disease is that the dead can come back to life:


"Clearly, this is an unlikely scenario if taken literally, but possible real-life applications may include allegiance to political parties, or diseases with a dormant infection."


With breathtaking understatement, the researchers note: "This is, perhaps unsurprisingly, the first mathematical analysis of an outbreak of zombie infection."


The paper concludes:


"In summary, a zombie outbreak is likely to lead to the collapse of civilisation, unless it is dealt with quickly. While aggressive quarantine may contain the epidemic, or a cure may lead to coexistence of humans and zombies, the most effective way to contain the rise of the undead is to hit hard and hit often.


"As seen in the movies, it is imperative that zombies are dealt with quickly, or else we are all in a great deal of trouble."


The paper can be read here.