Mathematician says this equation could predict zombie migration patterns

Contributed by
Dec 15, 2014, 1:00 PM EST (Updated)

When (or if) the zombie apocalypse ever occurs, be sure to sharpen your math skills and print out a copy of this report. It could save your life.

Thomas Woolley, at Oxford University's Mathematical Institute, has published a 26-page report dubbed “Mathematical Modeling of Zombies” that basically aims to break down the potential migration patterns in the event of an undead uprising and what the survivors would need to do in order to make their survival more likely.

Despite the awesome subject matter, it’s a bit dry (see: 26-page math report), but it still makes some awesome points worth noting in case a Romero-level event strikes. The formula is framed around the concept of diffusion, how zombies would likely spread out and wander, and how it would affect the humans.

Here are some excerpts from the report:

Realistically, the initial horde of zombies will be localized to areas containing dead humans, such as cemeteries and hospitals. In addition, because humans and zombies are not initially separated, humans are not able to run and hide in order to try and preserve themselves. It is a well-documented fact that zombies are deadly but slow-moving. Due to their slow movements, it is quite possible that, given sufficient warning, we would be able to outrun the zombies and produce a defensible blockade where humans could live safely. In order to do so, it would be useful to know just how long an infestation of zombies would take to reach our defenses; this would give us an estimate of how long we would have to scavenge for supplies and weaponry in order that we may protect ourselves from these oncoming, undead predators…

If we were to double the distance between ourselves and the zombies, then the time for the zombies to reach us would approximately quadruple. However, if we were to slow the zombies down by half, then the time taken would only double. Since we want to delay interaction with the zombies for as long as possible… it is much better to expend energy traveling away from the zombies than it is to try and slow them down. Without some form of projectile weaponry or chainsaw, killing zombies is particularly difficult, as they do not stop until their brains are destroyed.

Not to delve too deeply into the math, but the basic concept is to move faster than the zombies and put as much distance as possible between the living and the dead. Time is the advantage, and survivors should use it to gather supplies and build defenses while they await for the dead to eventually reach them. Not perfect, sure, but every day counts in the zombie apocalypse. 

(Via io9)

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