I had a laugh when I read Professor Robert Smith?’s home page (the question mark is really there).
After my PhD, I did a postdoc at the University of Western Ontario, where I discovered infectious diseases. At first it was just the one, you know? A little HIV, you know you want to, all your friends are doing it… Before I knew it, I was studying malaria, then it was human papillomavirus. After that, it was all a blur of neglected tropical diseases that kept coming and coming and, oh god, then I was into some really hardcore stuff, man. And once you’ve tried modelling zombies, you can never go back… *sobs*
Ok … imagine having a thesis advisor like this … Man that would be fun research! Shawn of the dead as source material …
Seriously, …he has a paper on Zombie modeling, and the first few pages I glanced through, I actually think I understood.
His focus is epidemiology. This is certainly something worthwhile, and it appears that the zombie modeling is using zombie as a placeholder for some unknown infectious disease with specific characteristics.
Looks to me like a very worthwhile expenditure of computer time. Hopefully he’ll get to use an HPC resource, and we can tell the world that among many of our other attributes, we are helping him protect humanity from zombification …
I would imagine as well that its probably not that hard to extend or constrain the models to computational viri/trojans/compromises (think of a virus or infection as a human system hack, the disease vector exploits a weakness in our genome/proteome and other omic defenses).