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This article introduces the idea that probabilistic reasoning (PR) may be understood as "information compression by multiple alignment, unification and search" (ICMAUS). In this context, multiple alignment has a meaning which is similar to but distinct from its meaning in bio-informatics, while unification means a simple merging of matching patterns, a meaning which is related to but simpler than the meaning of that term in logic. A software model, SP61, has been developed for the discovery andarXiv:cs/0307010v2 fatcat:t3qek6waabglpgbrkxabzj7oie