James Harris Simmons

James Harris "Jim" Simons (born 1938) is an American mathematician, hedge fund manager, and philanthropist. He is a code breaker and studies pattern recognition.

In 1982, Simons embarked a business career where he founded Renaissance Technologies, a private hedge fund based in New York City with over $25 billion under management. Simons retired at the end of 2009 as CEO of one of the world's most successful hedge fund firms. Simons' net worth is estimated to be $16.5 billion.


James Harris Simons was born to a Jewish family, the only child of Marcia and Matthew Simons, and raised in Brookline, Massachusetts. His father owned a shoe factory.

He received a Bachelor of Science in mathematics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1958 and a Ph.D., also in mathematics, from the University of California, Berkeley, under supervision of Bertram Kostant in 1961, at the age of 23.


For more than two decades, Simons' Renaissance Technologies' hedge funds, which trade in markets around the world, have employed mathematical models to analyze and execute trades, many automated. Renaissance uses computer-based models to predict price changes in financial instruments. These models are based on analyzing as much data as can be gathered, then looking for non-random movements to make predictions.

Renaissance employs specialists with non-financial backgrounds, including mathematicians, physicists, signal processing experts and statisticians. The firm's latest fund is the Renaissance Institutional Equities Fund (RIEF). RIEF has historically trailed the firm's better-known Medallion fund, a separate fund that contains only the personal money of the firm's executives.

In 2006, Simons was named Financial Engineer of the Year by the International Association of Financial Engineers. In 2007, he was estimated to have personally earned $2.8 billion, $1.7 billion in 2006, $1.5 billion in 2005, (the largest compensation among hedge fund managers that year) and $670 million in 2004.

Source: Wikipedia. Note: Click on the picture(s) for cool animations.

" Patterns of price movement are not random. However, they're close enough to random so that getting some excess, some edge out of it, is not easy and not so obvious-thank God. God probably doesn't care. Thank whoever. "

"We search through historical data looking for anomalous patterns that we would not expect to occur at random. Our scheme is to analyze data and markets to test for statistical significance and consistency over time. Once we find one, we test it for statistical significance and consistency over time. After we determine its validity, we ask, ‘Does this correspond to some aspect of behavior that seems reasonable?”