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Evidence, Inference and Enquiry$
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Philip Dawid, William Twining, and Mimi Vasilaki

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780197264843

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197264843.001.0001

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Inference Networks: Bayes and Wigmore

Inference Networks: Bayes and Wigmore

(p.119) 5 Inference Networks: Bayes and Wigmore
Evidence, Inference and Enquiry




British Academy

Methods for performing complex probabilistic reasoning tasks, often based on masses of different forms of evidence obtained from a variety of different sources, are being sought by, and developed for, persons in many important contexts including law, medical diagnosis, and intelligence analysis. The complexity of these tasks can often be captured and represented by graphical structures now called inference networks. These networks are directed acyclic graphs (DAGs), consisting of nodes, representing relevant hypotheses, items of evidence, and unobserved variables, and arcs (arrows) joining some of the nodes, representing dependency relations among them. This chapter describes and comments on two different approaches to inference network construction. In the first approach, a DAG network structure is explicitly constructed as a vehicle for probabilistic analyses. Since the associated computations can be regarded as generalising the use of Bayes' rule, such networks are commonly called Bayesian networks. The second approach stems from the work of the American jurist John H. Wigmore who was the very first person to attempt a systematic study of inference networks.

Keywords:   probabilistic reasoning, evidence, inference networks, directed acyclic graphs, Bayesian networks, John H. Wigmore

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