Glenn Shafer

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Glenn Shafer is an American mathematician and statistician. He is the co-creator of the Dempster-Shafer Theory, he is a University Professor and Board of Governors Professor at Rutgers University.

Early life and education[edit]

Shafer grew up on a farm near Caney, Kansas, he received a bachelors degree in mathematics from Princeton University, then entered the Peace Corps, serving in Afghanistan. He returned to Princeton, earning a PhD in mathematical statistics in 1973.[1]


He taught at Princeton and the University of Kansas, joining the faculty of Rutgers Business School – Newark and New Brunswick in 1992. From 2011 to 2014 he served as dean of the school.

During the 1970s and 1980s he expanded a theory first introduced by Arthur P. Dempster to create the Dempster-Shafer Theory, also described as the theory of belief functions or evidence theory. It is a general framework for reasoning with uncertainty, allowing one to combine evidence from different sources and arrive at a degree of belief (represented by a mathematical object called belief function) that takes into account all the available evidence;[2] the theory and its extensions have been of particular interest to the artificial intelligence community.[3]

More recently he worked with Vladimir Vovk to develop a game-theoretic framework for probability; that work produced a 2001 book, Probability and Finance: It's Only a Game! A joint research group between Rutgers and Royal Holloway, University of London has produced more than 50 working papers on the subject.[4]

Principal publications[edit]

  • Shafer, Glenn, A Mathematical Theory of Evidence, Princeton University Press, 1976.[5]
  • Shafer, Glenn, and Vovk, Vladimir, Probability and Finance: It's Only a Game!, John Wiley and Sons, 2001.[6]


He is designated as a Board of Governors Professor at Rutgers; the University of Prague recognized him with an honorary doctorate. He has been a Fulbright Fellow and a Guggenheim Fellow.[1]

Personal life[edit]

He is married to retired Princeton professor Nell Irvin Painter.


  1. ^ a b "Glenn Shafer". Rutgers University. Retrieved 12 June 2018.
  2. ^ Fine, Terrence L. (1977). "Review: Glenn Shafer, A mathematical theory of evidence". Bull. Amer. Math. Soc. 83 (4): 667–672. doi:10.1090/s0002-9904-1977-14338-3.
  3. ^ Zadeh, LA (1984). "Review of A Mathematical Theory of Evidence (PDF)". AI Magazine. 5 (3).
  4. ^ "The Game-Theoretic Probability and Finance Project". Probability and Finance. Retrieved 12 June 2018.
  5. ^ Shafer, Glenn; A Mathematical Theory of Evidence, Princeton University Press, 1976, ISBN 0-608-02508-9
  6. ^ Shafer, Glenn; Vovk, Vladimir (2001). Probability and Finance: It's Only a Game!. Wiley Series in Probability and Statistics. ISBN 978-0471402268.

External links[edit]