Bayesian and frequentist approaches to discoveries


I discuss findings from my recent comparison of Bayesian and frequentist approaches to resonance searches (1902.03243). I introduce a counting experiment in which we are searching for a signal in the presence of a background, from which I generate pseudo-data. With that pseudo-data, I contrast the evolution of the p-value and posterior as we accumulate data and directly compare global p-values and the posterior of the background model. I find that in this toy problem p-values are typically smaller than the posterior by one or two orders of magnitude. I discuss the relevance of my findings to direct detection experiments and suggest similar studies to check the behavior of our statistical approaches in that context.

Andrew Fowlie
Junior Faculty

My research interests include particle physics and statistics.