“If someone is able to show me that what I think or do is not right, I will happily change, for I seek the truth, by which no one was ever truly harmed. It is the person who continues in his self-deception and ignorance who is harmed.” – Marcus Aurelius

Bayesian statistics is an area that I have had very little exposure to prior to this project. While statistics is a core field in my degree, most of my learning had been in frequentist paradigm. I don’t think I am alone in my tendency to gravitate toward what is familiar to me, so why then would I spend my summer break doing the opposite?

Inspiration. I have never forgotten the excitement my lecturer had during my introduction to statistics course, when he first taught us Bayes’ theorem. He explained that there was a lot more this field had to offer, and after 2 years the curiosity never left me. That’s why when the same lecturer offered to supervise me for this project, it was an opportunity I could not turn down.

The start of the project was the most daunting. It took a good 2 weeks before I could even get my code to run in its most basic form. But that made it all the more satisfying when it finally did run, even though the first result looked nothing like it should have. While I ran into many more faults, the satisfaction of completing the smaller goals gave me the motivation to find solutions and move forward.

Necessity is a great motivator for learning, and I have learned more than I ever thought I would when I started. I only perceived this project as a supplement to my learning, however it has become a core moment of my undergraduate experience. While the project is now complete, my research in this area is far from over.

Mark Youssef
University of Technology Sydney

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