LAZARUS: A Mathematical Modeling of a Zombie Outbreak
Mentor:Jeffrey Lutgen, Associate Professor of Mathematics, Whittier College
From vampires to ghosts, the undead live on in movies, television, and literature, but none more so than the elusive zombie, which has increasingly ensnared the media. The problems that have stemmed from the walking dead are the fear of a zombie invasion and the possibilities of an infestation. Some research has been done about slower, shuffling zombies, but we wish to study the newer breed of zombie that can run and organize. We intend to predict an outcome should the human population come into contact with a zombie population that would threaten life on Earth. This project will investigate different simulations, each with their own respective parameters, such as different modes of re-animations, various incubation periods, and rates of infection. Each simulation will be based on a mathematical model, presented as accurately as possible and made as relevant as possible. The basis of the project will be variations of compartmental models, specifically an “SIR” model, or Susceptible, Infected, Removed model. Although some research has been done, there have been emerging trends, such as examining correlations between the amount of starting populations and how soon a zombie population takes over a susceptible population. In the future, more studies will be conducted to take into account different states, like quarantine classes, treatment classes, as well as other variables, such as higher probability rates for faster, smarter zombies and populations of cities. Overall, the project has the potential to be applied to the study of other world-known viruses, such as West Nile Virus, HIV/AIDS, and even Influenza viruses.