Michigan State University plans to offer a zombie apocalypse course to teach students survival skills. The course will be offered by the School of Social Work. (Hat tip to Paul Rubin). The course won’t really teach students how to survive a zombie attack, rather, it uses a zombie apocalypse as a vehicle for teaching students about how to model catastrophic events and infectious diseases like pandemic flu.
The instructor talks about the course in the Youtube video below.
This has me convinced that I should develop a course on OR models for a zombie apocalypse.
I am planning to develop a similar course that teaches introductory OR modeling to undergraduates by way of applications in emergency preparedness and emergency response. I had envisioned covering more traditional disasters, such as hurricanes and earthquakes. Maybe I should think outside the box.
What topics would you offer in an OR course on the zombie apocalypse? I would start with population models using birth-death models and/or differential equations (see one of my previous posts on this topic) and then look at how to staff deputies or federal marshals to combat the zombie hoards.
I plan to talk about zombies, werewolves, and vampires in the stochastic processes course I am teaching this semester. Here is a previous exam question.
March 7th, 2012 at 12:38 pm
Other ways to use Zombie’s to teach scientific topics.
More stuff related to the above zombie material.
Click to access Zombies.pdf
A report from the National Institute of Health on vampires.
March 7th, 2012 at 2:29 pm
Seriously? Aren’t college level students supposed to be dedicated enough and serious enough that they don’t need clever gimmicks in order to take a course?
March 7th, 2012 at 3:50 pm
perhaps, we should just narrow this down to Velociraptors.
March 7th, 2012 at 4:43 pm
One possible topic would be search models (finding zombies). Another would be interdiction models (such as min-cut), to stop the advancing hordes. Testing possibly infected people would introduce type I/II error and expected values (error costs). You could even introduce the Lancaster equations for pitched battles between zombies and non-administrators.