|New Mexico Supercomputing Challenge|
Challenge Team Abstract
We are going to design a program that simulates a fire or other emergency in a school building. Our program will model the efficiency of the student body evacuating the building during an emergency. We will use information based on regular evacuation drills and add problems such as blocked exits, smoky hallways, or student panic to simulate a reaction from the evacuating students and use the information from that simulation to infer the effectiveness of the drill.
How do we know if the emergency evacutaion drills practiced regularly in school are effective in a real emergency? From standard "fire drills" we know that a student body can be removed from a school in a verifiable amount of time. All tests are run with the understanding that every door will always be open and the students are not in a state of panic.
However, in a real emergency these conditions may not exist and the results from practiced drills may be misleading and dangerous. Particularly in a school that is underground of has several levels (as is the case of our school, Goddard High) it is imperative to know that every student can leave the building quickly and safely in a real emergency. Regular drills and basic knowledge of the building help, but these drills cannot effectively simulate smoke, blocked doorways and halls, loss of electricity, panic, or other dangers.
It is not feasible to simulate an evacuation by staging a "false emergency". Creating a controlled fire or using a pretend gunman inside the school would create real panic. The danger involved in live simulation is prohibitively risky. Therefore, a computer simulation is a safe alternative method for testing the effectiveness of emergency school evacuation.
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