Getting Started

Bayesian programming is a formalism and a methodology to specify probabilistic models and solve problems when all the necessary information is not available.

Edwin T. Jaynes proposed that probability could be considered as an alternative and an extension of logic for rational reasoning with incomplete and uncertain information. In his founding book Probability Theory: The Logic of Science he developed this theory and proposed what he called “the robot,” which was not a physical device, but an inference engine to automate probabilistic reasoning—a kind of Prolog for probability instead of logic. Bayesian programming is a formal and concrete implementation of this "robot".

Bayesian programming may also be seen as an algebraic formalism to specify graphical models such as, for instance, Bayesian networks, dynamic Bayesian networks, Kalman filters or hidden Markov models. Indeed, Bayesian Programming is more general than Bayesian networks and has a power of expression equivalent to probabilistic factor graphs.

While logic is the mathematical foundation of rational reasoning and the fundamental principle of computing, it is restricted to problems where information is both complete and certain. However, many real-world problems, from financial investments to email filtering, are incomplete or uncertain in nature. Probability theory and Bayesian computing together provide an alternative framework to deal with incomplete and uncertain data.

Emphasizing probability as an alternative to Boolean logic, Bayesian Programming covers new methods to build probabilistic programs for real-world applications.