Probability Theory: The Logic of Science

Cambridge University Press
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The standard rules of probability can be interpreted as uniquely valid principles in logic. In this book, E. T. Jaynes dispels the imaginary distinction between 'probability theory' and 'statistical inference', leaving a logical unity and simplicity, which provides greater technical power and flexibility in applications. This book goes beyond the conventional mathematics of probability theory, viewing the subject in a wider context. New results are discussed, along with applications of probability theory to a wide variety of problems in physics, mathematics, economics, chemistry and biology. It contains many exercises and problems, and is suitable for use as a textbook on graduate level courses involving data analysis. The material is aimed at readers who are already familiar with applied mathematics at an advanced undergraduate level or higher. The book will be of interest to scientists working in any area where inference from incomplete information is necessary.
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Cambridge University Press
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Published on
Apr 10, 2003
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Mathematics / Applied
Mathematics / Probability & Statistics / General
Science / Physics / General
Science / Physics / Mathematical & Computational
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The first six chapters of this volume present the author's 'predictive' or information theoretic' approach to statistical mechanics, in which the basic probability distributions over microstates are obtained as distributions of maximum entropy (Le. , as distributions that are most non-committal with regard to missing information among all those satisfying the macroscopically given constraints). There is then no need to make additional assumptions of ergodicity or metric transitivity; the theory proceeds entirely by inference from macroscopic measurements and the underlying dynamical assumptions. Moreover, the method of maximizing the entropy is completely general and applies, in particular, to irreversible processes as well as to reversible ones. The next three chapters provide a broader framework - at once Bayesian and objective - for maximum entropy inference. The basic principles of inference, including the usual axioms of probability, are seen to rest on nothing more than requirements of consistency, above all, the requirement that in two problems where we have the same information we must assign the same probabilities. Thus, statistical mechanics is viewed as a branch of a general theory of inference, and the latter as an extension of the ordinary logic of consistency. Those who are familiar with the literature of statistics and statistical mechanics will recognize in both of these steps a genuine 'scientific revolution' - a complete reversal of earlier conceptions - and one of no small significance.
There is an explosion of interest in Bayesian statistics, primarily because recently created computational methods have finally made Bayesian analysis tractable and accessible to a wide audience. Doing Bayesian Data Analysis, A Tutorial Introduction with R and BUGS, is for first year graduate students or advanced undergraduates and provides an accessible approach, as all mathematics is explained intuitively and with concrete examples. It assumes only algebra and ‘rusty’ calculus. Unlike other textbooks, this book begins with the basics, including essential concepts of probability and random sampling. The book gradually climbs all the way to advanced hierarchical modeling methods for realistic data. The text provides complete examples with the R programming language and BUGS software (both freeware), and begins with basic programming examples, working up gradually to complete programs for complex analyses and presentation graphics. These templates can be easily adapted for a large variety of students and their own research needs.The textbook bridges the students from their undergraduate training into modern Bayesian methods.Accessible, including the basics of essential concepts of probability and random samplingExamples with R programming language and BUGS softwareComprehensive coverage of all scenarios addressed by non-bayesian textbooks- t-tests, analysis of variance (ANOVA) and comparisons in ANOVA, multiple regression, and chi-square (contingency table analysis).Coverage of experiment planningR and BUGS computer programming code on websiteExercises have explicit purposes and guidelines for accomplishment
"...this edition is useful and effective in teaching Bayesian inference at both elementary and intermediate levels. It is a well-written book on elementary Bayesian inference, and the material is easily accessible. It is both concise and timely, and provides a good collection of overviews and reviews of important tools used in Bayesian statistical methods."

There is a strong upsurge in the use of Bayesian methods in applied statistical analysis, yet most introductory statistics texts only present frequentist methods. Bayesian statistics has many important advantages that students should learn about if they are going into fields where statistics will be used. In this third Edition, four newly-added chapters address topics that reflect the rapid advances in the field of Bayesian statistics. The authors continue to provide a Bayesian treatment of introductory statistical topics, such as scientific data gathering, discrete random variables, robust Bayesian methods, and Bayesian approaches to inference for discrete random variables, binomial proportions, Poisson, and normal means, and simple linear regression. In addition, more advanced topics in the field are presented in four new chapters: Bayesian inference for a normal with unknown mean and variance; Bayesian inference for a Multivariate Normal mean vector; Bayesian inference for the Multiple Linear Regression Model; and Computational Bayesian Statistics including Markov Chain Monte Carlo. The inclusion of these topics will facilitate readers' ability to advance from a minimal understanding of Statistics to the ability to tackle topics in more applied, advanced level books. Minitab macros and R functions are available on the book's related website to assist with chapter exercises. Introduction to Bayesian Statistics, Third Edition also features:

Topics including the Joint Likelihood function and inference using independent Jeffreys priors and join conjugate prior The cutting-edge topic of computational Bayesian Statistics in a new chapter, with a unique focus on Markov Chain Monte Carlo methods Exercises throughout the book that have been updated to reflect new applications and the latest software applications Detailed appendices that guide readers through the use of R and Minitab software for Bayesian analysis and Monte Carlo simulations, with all related macros available on the book's website

Introduction to Bayesian Statistics, Third Edition is a textbook for upper-undergraduate or first-year graduate level courses on introductory statistics course with a Bayesian emphasis. It can also be used as a reference work for statisticians who require a working knowledge of Bayesian statistics.

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