As mentioned in a previous post, I have written a mathematical article on zombiism as an infectious disease. Since Robert Smith? et al. had already done this already you maybe wondering what we added to the zombie theory.
Ask yourself the following question. What are zombies known for? You may come up with a long list of properties, but personally I can think of two defining characteristics:
- they prey on humans;
- the move slowly and unsteadily.
So, how do we model zombie movement? Well, we based their movement on the idea of a "drunkard's walk"; the agent lurches to and fro in a random fashion with no bias in direction. Of course, you may argue that zombies head directly towards humans, which would be true. And, although we could mathematically model this, it is simpler to assume random movement. Thus, we can think of our equations portraying the earlier stages of a zombie infestation, i.e. when the zombies first arise, they will be very confused and will be moving around randomly.
From this assumption we can model the zombie population as a diffusive substance. Now diffusion has two primary properties. Firstly, the agents move without directional bias and, secondly, the zombies move from places of high density to places of low density. This is shown in the figure above and the movie below which illustrates how a population of zombies all starting at the left hand side would move across the domain.
So what can this formulation tell us? Firstly, it implies that running away is better than trying to slow a zombie down. The reason behind this is that by doubling your distance between yourself and a zombie, you multiply the first meeting time by four. However, if you slow the zombie down by half, then you only multiply the first meeting time by two. Thus, here is my advice for today. If you see a zombie...