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October 31, 2013

Speaker: Dr. Robert Smith, Assistant Professor, Department of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Ottawa

Title: When Zombies Attack!: Mathematical Modelling of an outbreak of Zombie Infection.

Abstract: Zombies are popular figures in pop culture/entertainment and 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.

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