David (Dave) Schum, a former professor at the Volgenau School of Engineering, passed away in late September after a period of declining health. "This is a very big loss for the Science of Evidence, for the department, and for me personally," says Schum's former colleague Gheorghe Tecuci, professor of computer science and director of the Learning Agents Center.
Schum was professor in the engineering school's Department of Systems Engineering and Operations Research and in the Antonin Scalia Law School, as well as chief scientist of the Learning Agents Center at George Mason University, and honorary professor of evidence science at University College London.
He had a career-long interest in the study of the properties, uses, discovery, and marshaling of evidence in probabilistic reasoning. His major lines of research involved the tracking of evidential and inferential subtleties in complex inference; the design of various strategies for assisting persons in the performance of complex inference tasks; the study of the task of assessing the inferential force of various forms and combinations of evidence; and study of ways to enhance the process of discovery of new ideas and their relevant evidential tests.
During his lifetime, Schum published more than 100 papers in a variety of journals, as well as eight books, including The Evidential Foundations of Probabilistic Reasoning; Analysis of Evidence; Evidence and Inference for the Intelligence Analyst; A Probabilistic Analysis of the Sacco and Vanzetti Evidence; Intelligence Analysis as Discovery of Evidence, Hypotheses, and Arguments: Connecting the Dots; and Knowledge Engineering: Building Cognitive Assistants for Evidence-based Reasoning.
He was recognized as a founding father of the Science of Evidence. A memorial service for Schum will take place in early November.