Zombies vs. Chicago: How long would the city last?

In the unlikely scenario of a zombie apocalypse, it would take just 60 days for the undead to take control of Chicago, according to research by the Argonne National Laboratory.

Harnessing a computational model developed to study real-world diseases such as MRSA and Ebola, scientists found that it would take less than two months for zombies to take over the Windy City.

The light-hearted study followed the spread of a “zombie virus” and tested “interventions” that could save humanity, according to a press release from the Computation Institute, a joint initiative between the Argonne National Laboratory and the University of Chicago.


The worst-case scenario found little resistance against zombies, although strategies such as training people to kill the walking dead and communications from city officials on how to avoid the zombies would provide better outcomes.

“This offers great promise for countering the zombie apocalypse in Chicago,” said Chick Macal, Argonne researcher and senior fellow at the Computation Institute, in the statement.

The experiment uses the ChiSIM model, which is designed for public health crises. The model can simulate the complex behavior of millions of individual “agents” representing Chicago’s 3 million citizens, according to the Computation Institute. More than 2 million locations in the city are also factored into the model, and Chicagoans’ movement is simulated through a virtual map.

While a zombie invasion is firmly in the realm of fiction, experts say that the project could help tackle the spread of actual diseases in Chicago.


“This work allowed us to understand and do a better job for finding interventions that result in better outcomes, or even optimal outcomes — better solutions,” Macal told the Chicago Tribune.

The Argonne research team also perform simulations of the flu and ebola in case the diseases reach Chicago or its surrounding counties. “A previous study on MRSA transmission identified distinct hubs for the disease in the Chicago area, such as the Cook County Jail, where health officials can then focus interventions to prevent broader spread of the drug-resistant bacterial infection,” explained the Computation Institute in its release.

Researchers will soon be simulating the spread of Zika in Chicago.

Last year researchers at Cornell created an online simulator to map a zombie outbreak across the US.

A recent survey conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of Cambium Networks, discovered that Americans believe, in addition to terror attacks and natural disasters, an alien invasion and zombie apocalypse reinforce the need for a reliable Internet of Things (IoT) infrastructure.

The Internet of Things, which is one of the hottest trends in tech, involves crunching data from a diverse range of devices.