Thanks to my CS7641 class at Georgia Tech in my MS Analytics program, where I discovered this concept and was inspired to write about it. It is somewhat surprising that among all the high-flying buzzwords of machine learning, we don't hear much about the one phrase which fuses some of the core concepts of statistical learning, information theory, and natural philosophy into a single three-word-combo. Moreover, it is not just an obscure and pedantic phrase meant for machine learning (ML) Ph.Ds and theoreticians. It has a precise and easily accessible meaning for anyone interested to explore, and a practical pay-off for the practitioners of ML and data science. I am talking about Minimum Description Length.

Presbyterian reverend Thomas Bayes had no reason to suspect he'd make any lasting contribution to humankind. Born in England at the beginning of the 18th century, Bayes was a quiet and questioning man. He published only two works in his lifetime. In 1731, he wrote a defense of God's--and the British monarchy's--"divine benevolence," and in 1736, an anonymous defense of the logic of Isaac Newton's calculus. Yet an argument he wrote before his death in 1761 would shape the course of history.

It is somewhat surprising that among all the high-flying buzzwords of machine learning, we don't hear much about the one phrase which fuses some of the core concepts of statistical learning, information theory, and natural philosophy into a single three-word-combo. Moreover, it is not just an obscure and pedantic phrase meant for machine learning (ML) Ph.Ds and theoreticians. It has a precise and easily accessible meaning for anyone interested to explore, and a practical pay-off for the practitioners of ML and data science. I am talking about Minimum Description Length. Let's peel the layers off and see how useful it is… We start with (not chronologically) with Reverend Thomas Bayes, who by the way, never published his idea about how to do statistical inference, but was later immortalized by the eponymous theorem.

Bayesian Statistics continues to remain incomprehensible in the ignited minds of many analysts. Being amazed by the incredible power of machine learning, a lot of us have become unfaithful to statistics. Our focus has narrowed down to exploring machine learning. We fail to understand that machine learning is only one way to solve real world problems. In several situations, it does not help us solve business problems, even though there is data involved in these problems. To say the least, knowledge of statistics will allow you to work on complex analytical problems, irrespective of the size of data. In 1770s, Thomas Bayes introduced'Bayes Theorem'.