Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Bayesians, Frequentists, and Scientists

JASA 2005, vol. 100, no. 469, pp. 1 - 5
Brad Efron

Abstract: Broadly speaking, nineteenth century statistics was Bayesian, while the twentieth century was frequentist, at least from the point of view of most scientific practitioners. Here in the twenty-first century scientists are bringing statisticians much bigger problems to solve, often comprising millions of data points and thousands of parameters. Which statistical philosophy will dominate practice? My guess, backed up with some recent examples, is that a combination of Bayesian and frequentist ideas will be needed to deal with our increasingly intense scientific environment. This will be a challenging period for statisticians, both applied and theoretical, but it also opens the opportunity for a new golden age, rivaling that of Fisher, Neyman, and the other giants of the early 1900s. What follows is the text of the 164th ASA presidential address, delivered at the awards ceremony in Toronto on August 10, 2004.

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