Date of Award

Spring 2013

Document Type

Thesis

Department

Mathematics, Engineering & Computer Science

First Advisor

Prof. Holly Zullo

Second Advisor

Prof. Kelly Cline

Third Advisor

Prof. Brandon Sheafor

Abstract

The SIR model uses population the \susceptible," \infected," and \recovering" compartments to describe the spread of infectious disease throughout an entire population. In this paper we apply the SIR model to the 2012 seasonal strain of influenza as well as pop culture trends. We first explore the dynamics of SIR parameters to gain a deeper understanding of SIR models within the well-studied area of seasonal influenza. Then we apply similar techniques to measure pop culture trends with the Google NGram Viewer. The trend on which we focus our models is the recent surface of the popular horror staple-zombies. We carefully determine three different models that forecast the future of zombie pop culture according to literary frequency. The most likely model predicts a peak in the zombie craze near the year 2038.

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