Simons, James H.

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SIMONS, JAMES H. (1938– ), U.S. mathematician, hedgefund owner. A graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Jim Simons earned a doctorate in mathematics from the University of California at Berkeley. From 1961 to 1964 he taught mathematics at mit and Harvard University. In 1968 he became chairman of the math department at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. Simons was also a crypt analyst, or code breaker, and did important work in mathematics that helped lay the foundation for string theory. In the late 1970s he left academia to run a fund that traded in commodities and financial instruments on a discretionary basis. Over the next quarter of a century, his company, Renaissance Technologies, which uses computer-based models to predict price changes in easily traded financial instruments, was at the forefront of research in mathematics and economic analysis. Renaissance's models were based on analyzing as much data as can be gathered, then looking for nonrandom movements to make predictions. In 2006, Renaissance managed over $5 billion of hedge fund assets on which, over the previous 10 years, the compounded return was approximately 40 percent. Renaissance Technologies' Hedge Fund, the Medallion Fund, was perhaps the most successful large hedge fund ever. It was closed to new investors after 1991. In 2006 Simons was launching the Renaissance Institutional Equities Fund, designed to handle upwards of $100 billion, one that would become the industry's largest. The minimum investment was set at $20 million.

[Stewart Kampel (2nd ed.)]