Bayes’ theorem is a fundamental concept in probability theory that describes the relationship between the probability of an event occurring (the prior probability) and the probability of that event occurring given certain evidence (the posterior probability). The theorem is named after Thomas Bayes, an 18th-century statistician and theologian who first published the theorem in his 1763 essay “An Essay Towards Solving a Problem in the Doctrine of Chances.”
The theorem is expressed mathematically as:
P(A|B) = P(B|A) * P(A) / P(B)
- P(A|B) is the probability of event A occurring given that event B has occurred (the posterior probability)
- P(B|A) is the probability of event B occurring given that event A has occurred (the likelihood)
- P(A) is the probability of event A occurring (the prior probability)
- P(B) is the probability of event B occurring (the marginal likelihood or the normalizing constant)
The theorem is used to update the probability of an event occurring based on new information or evidence. It can be used in a wide range of applications, including decision-making, machine learning, natural language processing, and medical diagnosis.
It is important to note that Bayes’ theorem is based on the assumption of conditional independence, which means that the probability of an event occurring is not affected by the occurrence of other events.