Arthur P. Dempster

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Arthur P. Dempster
Dempster in Brest.JPG
Prof Dempster at the workshop on Belief Function Theory (Brest 1 April 2010).
Born 1929 (age 85–86)
Fields Statistics
Institutions Harvard University
Alma mater Princeton University (PhD 1956)
University of Toronto (BA 1952; MA 1953)
Thesis The two-sample multivariate problem in the degenerate case (1956)
Doctoral advisor John Tukey
Known for Dempster–Shafer theory
EM algorithm
Notable awards Putnam Fellow (1961)
ASA Fellow (1964) [1]
IMS Fellow (1963) [2]
Guggenheim Fellow
AAAS Fellow (1997)

Arthur Pentland Dempster (born 1929) is a Professor Emeritus in the Harvard University Department of Statistics. He was one of four faculty when the department was founded in 1957.[3]


Dempster received his B.A. in mathematics and physics (1952) and M.A. in mathematics (1953), both from University of Toronto. He obtained his Ph.D. in mathematical statistics from Princeton University in 1956. His thesis, titled The two-sample multivariate problem in the degenerate case, was written under the supervision of John Tukey.

Academic works[edit]

Among his contributions to statistics are the Dempster–Shafer theory and the EM algorithm.

Selected publications[edit]

The author first introduced the Dempster–Shafer theory in the context of statistical inference.
The authors collected a variety of maximum likelihood problems and methods of solving these problems that occurred in the literature. They found that all of these methods had some ideas in common and they named it the EM Algorithm, standing for "Expectation, Maximization".

Honors and awards[edit]

Dempster was a Putnam Fellow in 1951. He was elected to ASA Fellow in 1964,[1] IMS Fellow in 1963,[2] and AAAS Fellow in 1997.


  1. ^ a b "Search Fellows of the ASA". ASA. Retrieved 3 February 2015. click submit and search "Dempster" 
  2. ^ a b Honored IMS Fellows
  3. ^ Date information sourced from Library of Congress Authorities data, via corresponding WorldCat Identities linked authority file (LAF) .

External links[edit]