Saturday, November 1, 2014

Texas supercomputer will run zombie outbreak simulation

The National Science Foundation recently funded science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) students at Texas Tech University, to help them develop a computer system (supercomputer) they dubbed LAZARUS, which stands for Lab for the Analysis of Zombie Activity and Research into Undead Situations.
This [funding] has allowed us to design a project that could make STEM really applicable to students in K-12.  So the idea is that we could do educational outreach to local students in high school and middle schools to get them actively involved in mathematical building. So these students will be able to go online and manipulate and run code that has to do with zombie modeling.Jessica Spott, senior program administrator in STEM explains the project:
The lab is completing construction of a Graphics Processing Unit Supercomputing Cluster, which is codenamed Schoenberg, according to the LAZARUS website.  The initial project will be to implement a system which can handle large-scale computer simulations of a zombie outbreak.
John Calhoun, a mathematical graduate student from San Antonio goes into more detail:
The current zombie simulations will be ran by building a city and filling it with zombies. After that we will see what happens. By doing this, we will split up different rooms with different processors doing its own calculations all while communicating with each other.  We are trying to demonstrate to people that are unexposed to math the empowering and approachability of math with this type of simulation.
This will also hopefully provide a resource to not just the math and science community at Tech but other parts as well.  We have this computer that has almost no rules attached to it, so we want to do all the things that no other cluster gets to do, like running zombie simulations.
There is a significant interest in using the current interest in the undead to kickstart interest in the sciences in young people.  This is just one more awesome example of that at work.  For more information on this project, please contact:
Daily Toreador – Dept. of Student Media
Phone number: 806-742-3388
Address: Texas Tech University
Box 43081
Lubbock, TX 79409

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