Let's Find Out How Long a Zombie Outbreak Would Take to Reach Your Town
Scientists have FINALLY given this serious subject the serious attention it deserves.
Thank goodness for Cornell. While the rest of us vaguely reassure ourselves that The Walking Dead could never happen, the big brains at the Ivy League university decided to put their skills to something practical — in this case, estimating the time it would take for a zombie outbreak to spread across the continental United States.
Of course, Cornell physics graduate students Alex Alemi and Matt Bierbaum could've kept their research to themselves, but instead they decided to share their findings in an interactive map (likely because they wisely recognize the universal threat a zombie apocalypse would have on all sentient humans). They're calling their map simulator Zombie-town, USA, and we can't stop playing with it studying it.
Because, guys, this isn't zombie amateur hour. Alemi and Bierbaum used "Gillespie dynamics" to account for the very complicated interactions between the infected and non-infected. Zombie-town tracks the spread of a zombie outbreak in much the same way scientists have simulated the spread of radioactive decay and chemical reactions. To conduct your own experiments, all you have to do is click anywhere on the interactive map to kick-start the epidemic. Controls on the left allow you to change the kill-to-bite ratio and zombie speed.
Some things to keep in mind before you wreak havoc on the United States: The simulation accounts for almost immediate zombie transformation, cutting out travel considerations that would cause the outbreak to spread at a much faster and more unpredictable rate. In addition, dead people don't automatically turn to zombies, like they do on The Walking Dead.
Have fun starting the zombie apocalypse again and again! Destroy to your heart's content here.