Saviour software

Zombie behaviour, particularly their flesheating ways, should be easier to predict by the end of the year, thanks to software being developed at Victoria that also has applications for very real diseases.

Jacob Duligall (Engineering student) demonstrates the zombie-apocalypse simulator to Dr Roman Klapukh.
Engineering student Jacob Duligall demonstrates the zombie-apocalypse simulator to Dr Roman Klapukh.

Designed by Bachelor of Engineering Honours student Jacob Duligall, the software simulates the spread of ‘zombieism’ through a virtual city, turning everyday citizens going about their business into highly motivated gourmands with a penchant for human brain.

Rather than preparing for the unlikely event of an actual zombie outbreak, the intention is to use the zombie-apocalypse model to create simulations that show how contagions such as the common cold, influenza or even Ebola, might spread.

“My focus is on enabling the system to deal with a wider range of diseases,” says Jacob. “Essentially, it’s a matter of modifying the code to specify how the zombies will behave and how the disease is passed on.

“The objective is to create software that might better assist health services in preparing for serious contagious diseases.” The project also entails incorporating real locations into the simulation. “By bringing in actual maps we can run the simulator for practically any town or city anywhere in the world to see how a zombie attack would play out.”

Jacob’s supervisor, Dr Roman Klapaukh, says he wanted to challenge Jacob to build a system from scratch and develop something that could be grasped outside of a purely academic environment.

“Zombies may not be real, but contagious disease is,” says Roman. “By the end of the project, Jacob will have a solid piece of work for his portfolio.”