Bayes Theorem and Malaysia Flight 370

Bayes’ Theorem is used to predict conditional probabilities, so it’s no surprise that it is being called upon to find the missing Malaysia Airlines flight 370. The theorem was designed to predict all possibilities and allow for revisions to further hone in on each scenario, something which is necessary when trying to locate a wreckage in open water. The theorem will detail an entire scenario and draw out specifics of what a person is looking for versus what they are not. Tide and current are able to be factored in with mathematical precision. The theorem has been used to find gold, sunken submarines and a previous airline wreckage, as well. It successfully found the missing Air France flight 477 en route from Rio de Janeiro in 2009.

Although providing a positive twist to a dismal event; officials still fear they may not find the missing aircraft. It took time and patience (almost 2 years) to locate the Air France flight in the Atlantic. The Indian Ocean provides more uncertainty, because of its ravenous weather and strong currents.

http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2014/03/25/294390476/can-a-250-year-old-mathematical-theorem-find-a-missing-plane

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2 thoughts on “Bayes Theorem and Malaysia Flight 370”

  1. It’s interesting to see a piece like this. The popularity of the missing airplane is unprecedented, but along with it is a created resurgence of interest in all of the tools and measures that would prove useful in tragic situations like this. Baysian logic is one of these tools in the way it can be applied to a real world scenario. Although statistics are moot to the individual, the Baysian logic rooted in economics is a real world model that can be simulated, tested, and re-tested. Professional egg heads that theorize concepts like this might enjoy the abstract nature of such, but their real world application is really the most contributive aspect of a proven mathematical model. To know the information that would help reveal the fate of over 200 passengers can be truly priceless.

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