R programming challenge: Escape the zombie horde

May 20, 2013

(This article was first published on Revolutions, and kindly contributed to R-bloggers)

So when the world is taken over by a Zombie horde, you're going to want to figure out a way to get the human population to safety. This R script by econometrician Francis Smart won't help you do that exactly, but given a list of waypoints to navigate through zombie-infested lands to a safe house, it will tell you how many how many members of your human party survive: 

Zombie Horde

While zombie-escaping might not seem to be a terribly useful application of R (until the outbreak comes, anyway), Francis's script comes with detailed comments that make it a useful example of simulation and animations for budding R programmers. (Try switching up the seed used in the set.seed call to get a new horde of zombies to play with, and experiment with new values of the waypoints variable to guide your hapless humans to safety.) It's also a great example of using the animation package to crate animated GIFs with R. 

If you're looking for a programming challenge, an interesting experiment would be to write a function to automatically select waypoints on the route to safety. You could then run the simulation over and over (using a random seed, this time) and count the number of survivors to evaluate its effectiveness. Let us know what you come up with in the comments. 

Econometrics by Simulation: Strategic Zombie Simulation - Animation - Jimmy's Down

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