Dempster's rule of combination

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The theory of belief functions is a generalization of probability theory; a belief function is a set function more general than a probability measure but whose values can still be interpreted as degrees of belief. Dempster's rule of combination is a rule for combining two or more belief functions; when the belief functions combined are based on distinct or “independent” sources of evidence, the rule corresponds intuitively to the pooling of evidence. As a special case, the rule yields a rule of conditioning which generalizes the usual rule for conditioning probability measures. The rule of combination was studied extensively, but only in the case of finite sets of possibilities, in the author's monograph A Mathematical Theory of Evidence. The present paper describes the rule for general, possibly infinite, sets of possibilities. We show that the rule preserves the regularity conditions of continuity and condensability, and we investigate the two distinct generalizations of probabilistic independence which the rule suggests.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)26-40
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Approximate Reasoning
StatePublished - Dec 1 2016
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Software
  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Applied Mathematics


  • Belief function
  • Cognitive independence
  • Conditioning
  • Dempster's rule
  • Evidential independence
  • Upper probabilities


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