Concept

Minimum message length

Résumé
Minimum message length (MML) is a Bayesian information-theoretic method for statistical model comparison and selection. It provides a formal information theory restatement of Occam's Razor: even when models are equal in their measure of fit-accuracy to the observed data, the one generating the most concise explanation of data is more likely to be correct (where the explanation consists of the statement of the model, followed by the lossless encoding of the data using the stated model). MML was invented by Chris Wallace, first appearing in the seminal paper "An information measure for classification". MML is intended not just as a theoretical construct, but as a technique that may be deployed in practice. It differs from the related concept of Kolmogorov complexity in that it does not require use of a Turing-complete language to model data. Definition Shannon's A Mathematical Theory of Communication (1948) states that in an optimal code, the message length (in binary) of an ev
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