Researcher Models Effects of a Suicide Bombing: Results of Crowd Configurations

Oct 30, 2007

Recent research by Zeeshan-ul-hassan Usmani, a Florida Institute of Technology doctoral student and Fulbright Scholar, indicates that various crowd formations exacerbate or minimize injuries and fatalities in the event of a pedestrian suicide bomb attack.

His work was conducted through virtual simulation. It showed that the crowd formation experiencing the worst effects is a circular one, with a 51 percent death rate and 42 percent injury rate, thus reaching 93 percent effectiveness. A person that is in line-of-sight with the attacker, rushing toward the exit or in a stampede was found to be in the least safe position.

The safest way to stand or sit in a crowd, Usmani found, was in vertical rows.

“Zeeshan is one of the most talented students I have met. His ability to grasp and integrate distinct unrelated topics is impressive,” said Richard Griffith, Ph.D., Florida Tech associate professor and program chair, Industrial/ Organizational Psychology program.

His findings, though preliminary, may have implications for emergency response and counter-terrorism activities. He plans to continue the research, integrating several physical and social variables into the simulation. These include modeling physical objects such as landscape and furniture, and such social variables as crowd behaviors.

“There are many applications for this simulation, from special event planning to emergency response,” said Usmani.

Andrew English, president of SIMetrix solutions and a research professor at Florida Tech is co-author of the study. He has produced several reports on using advanced technologies for training for the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Defense and the Australian Defense Simulation Office.

Usmani holds a master’s degree in computer science from Florida Tech, where he continues toward completing a doctorate in computer science. As part of his master’s thesis, Usmani developed a simulation of supermarkets to observe and quantify the effects of herd behavior on impulse shopping.. His work has been noted in MIT’s Technology Review and The Economist. He will present this research again on Nov. 27 at the Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation & Education Conference, to be held in Orlando, Fla.

Source: Florida Tech

Explore further: Can science eliminate extreme poverty?

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

New research may save lives in suicide bombings

Mar 23, 2009

Florida Institute of Technology researchers have determined that where a person is standing in a room or other location during a suicide terrorist attack can have a great bearing on survival and injuries.

Recommended for you

Can science eliminate extreme poverty?

15 hours ago

Science has often come to the rescue when it comes to the world's big problems, be it the Green Revolution that helped avoid mass starvation or the small pox vaccine that eradicated the disease. There is ...

Japan stem cell body splashes cash on luxury furniture

Apr 14, 2014

A publicly-funded research institute in Japan, already embattled after accusing one of its own stem cell scientists of faking data, has spent tens of thousands of dollars on designer Italian furniture, reportedly to use up ...

User comments : 0

More news stories