David Schminovich points me to this paper by Yu Lu, H. Mo, Martin Weinberg, and Neal Katz:
We believe that a wide range of physical processes conspire to shape the observed galaxy population but we remain unsure of their detailed interactions. The semi-analytic model (SAM) of galaxy formation uses multi-dimensional parameterisations of the physical processes of galaxy formation and provides a tool to constrain these underlying physical interactions. Because of the high dimensionality, the parametric problem of galaxy formation may be profitably tackled with a Bayesian-inference based approach, which allows one to constrain theory with data in a statistically rigorous way. In this paper we develop a SAM in the framework of Bayesian inference. . . .
And here’s another from the same authors, this time on “Bayesian inference of galaxy formation from the K-band luminosity function of galaxies: tensions between theory and observation.”
I haven’t actually looked at the papers but I thought some of you out there might be interested.