Bayes by the Bay, Chennai, India, 2013

Kevin B Korb

The Chennai Institute of Mathematical Sciences held its 50th birthday party in Pondicherry, India, 4-8 January 2013, organized by Ronojoy Adhikhari and Rahul Siddharthan. This was a lively meeting attended by statisticians, physicists, biologists, climate scientists, computer scientists and others, united by an interest in applying Bayes Theorem in solving all kinds of scientific problems — and divided, as usual, by the many possible interpretations of Bayes Theorem. I look forward to the day(?) when Bayesians can find consensus, not over what in particular probabilities may be, but over the fact that they may be diverse things. Acknowledging objectivity needn't come at the price of abandoning subjectivity (see, e.g., David Lewis's "A subjectivist's guide to objective chance" in R. Jeffrey (ed) Studies in Inductive Logic and Probability, vol III, 1980).

In any case, there were many interesting presentations and discussions, including, among many others: Devinder Sivia (Oxford) presenting Bayesian methods of data analysis, Rajesh Rao (Washington) describing recent Bayesian models of brain function, Erik van Nimwegen (Basel) using Bayesian networks to predict protein contacts, Balaji Rajagopalan (Colorado) analysing climate change with extreme value models. I gave talks on Bayesian network modeling, causal discovery of Bayesian nets, and discretization. Most of these were filmed and will be made available on Youtube. When that happens, I'll update this post.