Maximum likelihood estimates of the parameters in the distribution are calculated by maximizing the likelihood function with respect to the parameters. For a given data set, the maximum likelihood estimates are the most likely values for the distribution parameters.
The Newton-Raphson algorithm is used to calculate maximum likelihood estimates of the distribution parameters. The Newton-Raphson algorithm is an iterative numerical method for calculating the maximum of a function. 1
Minitab calculates the parameter estimates using the maximum likelihood method for all the distributions except the lognormal distribution. For the lognormal distribution, Minitab calculates unbiased parameter estimates.