Jim Simons, Founder Of Billionaire Hedge Fund, Passes Away At Age 86

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Jim Simons, the billionaire investor, mathematician, and philanthropist, died on Friday in New York City, as announced by his foundation, the Simons Foundation. 86-year-old Simons was known for founding the hedge fund Renaissance Technologies and for his contributions to quantitative investing, a market strategy leveraging mathematical and statistical models for investment decisions. Later in life, Simons transitioned into political advocacy and philanthropy.

Born in Newton, Massachusetts in 1938, Simons had a passion for mathematics and numbers from an early age, as noted on his foundation’s website. He earned a mathematics degree at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and a doctorate in math from the University of California, Berkeley.

Following brief teaching roles at MIT and Harvard University, Simons worked as a code breaker for the National Security Agency at the Institute for Defense Analyses in Princeton, New Jersey. He was dismissed from the institute in 1968 due to his opposition to the Vietnam War and subsequently joined Stony Brook University as the head of the mathematics department.

In the late ’70s, Simons departed academia to establish Renaissance Technologies in 1982. Utilizing computer models, his hedge fund grew into a multi-billion-dollar enterprise.

In his later years, Simons focused on philanthropy and political activism, particularly as a prominent Democratic donor. The Simons Foundation, under his guidance, supported various causes, including autism research, science, and math education.

Last year, the Simons Foundation made history by donating $500 million to Stony Brook’s endowment, marking the largest unrestricted gift to an American university. Reflecting on his ties to Stony Brook, Simons expressed his appreciation for the university’s growth and innovation since his tenure as the chair of the Department of Mathematics in 1968.