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The Legacy of the Reverend Bayes

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Author:Keith Devlin (Devlin's Angle)
Description: How do you use inconclusive evidence to assess the probability that a certain event will occur? One method that has become increasingly popular in recent years depends on a mathematical theorem proved by an 18th Century English Presbyterian minister by the name of Thomas Bayes. What makes the relatively new technique of "Bayesian inference" particularly intriguing is that it uses an honest-to-goodness mathematical formula (Bayes' Theorem) in order to improve - on the basis of evidence - the best (human) estimate that a particular event will take place. In the words of some statisticians, it's "mathematics on top of common sense."...

Levels: High School (9-12), College, Research
Languages: English
Resource Types: Articles
Math Topics: Probability, Statistics, Medicine/Health

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