Overview of Bayesian Belief Network

Overview of Bayesian Belief Network

Ben Kei Daniel (University of Saskatchewan, Canada)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-663-1.ch010
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Abstract

Statistical and probability inferences are basically dependent on two major methods of reasoning, conventional (frequentist) and Bayesian probability. Frequentists’ methods are mainly based on numerous events, where Bayesian probability applies prior knowledge and subjective belief. Frequentist models of probability do not permit the introduction of prior knowledge into the calculations. This is traditionally to maintain the rigour of a scientific method and as way to prevent the introduction of extraneous data that might skew the experimental results. However, there are times when the use of prior knowledge would be a useful contribution to evaluation a situation. The Bayesian approach was proposed to help us reason in situation where prior knowledge is need, and especially under highly uncertain circumstances. This Chapter provides an overview of the main principles underlying the Bayesian method and Bayesian belief networks. The ultimate goal is to provide the reader with the basic knowledge necessary for understanding the Bayesian Belief Network approach to building computational model. The Chapter does not go into more technical details of probability theory and Bayesian statistics. But to make it more accessible to a wide range of readers, some technical details are simplified.
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Introduction

Statistical and probability inferences are basically dependent on two major methods of reasoning, conventional (frequentist) and Bayesian probability. Frequentists’ methods are mainly based on numerous events, where Bayesian probability applies prior knowledge and subjective belief. Frequentist models of probability do not permit the introduction of prior knowledge into the calculations. This is traditionally to maintain the rigour of a scientific method and as way to prevent the introduction of extraneous data that might skew the experimental results. However, there are times when the use of prior knowledge would be a useful contribution to evaluation a situation. The Bayesian approach was proposed to help us reason in situation where prior knowledge is need, and especially under highly uncertain circumstances.

This chapter provides an overview of the main principles underlying the Bayesian method and Bayesian belief networks. The ultimate goal is to provide the reader with the basic knowledge necessary for understanding the Bayesian Belief Network approach to building computational model. The Chapter does not go into more technical details of probability theory and Bayesian statistics. But to make it more accessible to a wide range of readers, some technical details are simplified.

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