What is the expectation maximization algorithm?

@article{Do2008WhatIT,
  title={What is the expectation maximization algorithm?},
  author={Chuong B. Do and S. Batzoglou},
  journal={Nature Biotechnology},
  year={2008},
  volume={26},
  pages={897-899}
}
The expectation maximization algorithm arises in many computational biology applications that involve probabilistic models. What is it good for, and how does it work? 

Paper Mentions

Probabilistic Models for Species Tree Inference and Orthology Analysis
A Genetic Algorithm for Learning Parameters in Bayesian Networks using Expectation Maximization
EM*: An EM Algorithm for Big Data
Belief Revision and the EM Algorithm
Model selection in biological networks using a graphical EM algorithm
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