A primer on bayesian inference for biophysical systems

  • Hines K
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Bayesian inference is a powerful statistical paradigm that has gained popularity in many fields of science, but adoption has been somewhat slower in biophysics. Here, I provide an accessible tutorial on the use of Bayesian methods by focusing on example applications that will be familiar to biophysicists. I first discuss the goals of Bayesian inference and show simple examples of posterior inference using conjugate priors. I then describe Markov chain Monte Carlo sampling and, in particular, discuss Gibbs sampling and Metropolis random walk algorithms with reference to detailed examples. These Bayesian methods (with the aid of Markov chain Monte Carlo sampling) provide a generalizable way of rigorously addressing parameter inference and identifiability for arbitrarily complicated models.

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  • Keegan E. Hines

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