News.com has a fascinating article on how the mathematical theories (especially in probability) propounded by Thomas Bayes in the 18th century are becoming a new force in computing.
[Developers are] building programs designed to automatically manage the deluge of data that gets thrown at people each day via e-mail, cell phones, instant messaging programs and the like.
The appeal of the Bayesian technique is its deceptive simplicity. The predictions are based completely on data culled from reality–the more data obtained, the better it works. Another advantage is that Bayesian models are self-correcting, meaning that when data changes, so do the results.
Microsoft, Google, Autonomy and Intel are among the companies which use Bayes’ algorithms.