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R Implementation of Maximum Likelihood Estimation

Kaliraj Sukrani


In statistics, Maximum Likelihood Estimation (MLE) is a method of estimating the parameters of an assumed probability distribution, given some observed data. This is achieved by maximizing a likelihood function so that, under the assumed statistical model, the observed data is most probable. The point in the parameter space that maximizes the likelihood function is called the maximum likelihood estimate. The logic of maximum likelihood is both intuitive and flexible, and as such the method has become a dominant means of statistical inference. If the likelihood function is differentiable, the derivative test for determining maxima can be applied. In some cases, the first-order conditions of the likelihood function can be solved explicitly; for instance, the ordinary least squares estimator maximizes the likelihood of the linear regression model. Under most circumstances, however, numerical methods will be necessary to find the maximum of the likelihood function. From the vantage point of Bayesian inference, MLE is a special case of Maximum a Posteriori Estimation (MAP) that assumes a uniform prior distribution of the parameters. In frequentist inference, MLE is a special case of an extremum estimator, with the objective function being the likelihood.


Maximum Likelihood Estimation, Bias, Newton-Raphson Method, Maximum a Posteriori Estimation (MAP), Life Testing.

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