Chicago would be overtaken by a zombie invasion in 60 days.
That’s according to a team of scientists at Argonne National Laboratory, who came to the conclusion using a high-powered computer model that’s normally used for much more serious work on infectious diseases.
“The people of Chicago could suffer dire consequences at the hands of a zombie invasion,” said Chick Macal, a senior systems engineer in Argonne’s Global Security Sciences Division. “No part of the city would be spared.”
While the scenario is obviously fictional, Macal and his colleagues on the Argonne Infectious Disease Modeling Team calculated the timeline by running the numbers through an intricately designed system that was originally created to analyze the spread of real diseases.
The lab began working on the project about a year ago, inspired by Halloween and "The Walking Dead," to illustrate how the lab uses that computer model, called ChiSIM.
ChiSIM was originally developed in 2009 to figure out how to deal with MRSA, a strain of bacteria that causes difficult-to-treat and potentially deadly infections.
MRSA, short for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, originally gained attention as a problem in hospitals. But then, people who hadn’t been exposed to the health care system began developing infections.
So Argonne partnered with the National Institutes of Health to figure out how the bacteria were spreading, building an incredibly detailed computer model of Chicago, its citizens and how they interact.
Macal and his team used Census data to create individual “agents” — anonymized representations of census data which, as a whole, reflect the 2.9 million people who were in Chicago as of the 2000 Census.
The researchers built simulations for how people move throughout the city over the course of days, weeks and years, mapping their movements and interactions in 2 million real locations.
Then, they threw in MRSA, and figured out how it spread.
When ChiSIM was finally ready to go in 2011, the Infectious Disease Modeling Team ran a 10-year simulation, starting with MRSA’s prevalence in 2001 and running 2 trillion interactions — and found the numbers came out right on the other end.
“The models re-created the past, and we could look into the model and look and see what places were important, what age groups were important in transmitting the disease,” Macal said.
Read more here: www.chicagotribune.com/bluesky/originals/ct-argonne-zombie-takeover-argonne-bsi-20161031-story.html