The Theory that Would Not Die: How Bayes' Rule Cracked the Enigma Code, Hunted Down Russian Submarines, & Emerged Triumphant from Two Centuries of Controversy

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Yale University Press, 2011 - Mathematics - 335 pages
9 Reviews
Bayes rule appears to be a straightforward, one-line theorem: by updating our initial beliefs with objective new information, we get a new and improved belief. To its adherents, it is an elegant statement about learning from experience. To its opponents, it is subjectivity run amok. In the first-ever account of Bayes' rule for general readers, Sharon Bertsch McGrayne explores this controversial theorem and the human obsessions surrounding it. She traces its discovery by an amateur mathematician in the 1740s through its development into roughly its modern form by French scientist Pierre Simon Laplace. She reveals why respected statisticians rendered it professionally taboo for 150 years at the same time that practitioners relied on it to solve crises involving great uncertainty and scanty information, even breaking Germany's Enigma code during World War II, and explains how the advent of off-the-shelf computer technology in the 1980s proved to be a game-changer. Today, Bayes' rule is used everywhere from DNA de-coding to Homeland Security.Drawing on primary source material and interviews with statisticians and other scientists, The Theory That Would Not Die is the riveting account of how a seemingly simple theorem ignited one of the greatest controversies of all time.
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Cataloger623 - LibraryThing

Even if you failed math in college this book is good. Basically it's a history one statistical theorem. Put simply by updating intial your belief about something with objective new information , you ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - dougcornelius - LibraryThing

I was disappointed by this book. I had read a good review that played up this interesting view on the world of statistics and how the Bayes Rule had becoming a compelling tool for statistical analysis ... Read full review

Contents

Part II Second World War Era
59
Part III The Glorious Revival
89
Part IV To Prove Its Worth
137
Part V Victory
211
Appendixes
253
Notes
259
Glossary
271
Bibliography
275
Index
307
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