Jim Simons, founder of pioneering quant fund Renaissance Technologies, dies

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Jim Simons, whose mathematical work led to the development of string theory and the establishment of famed quantitative fund Renaissance Technologies, has died, aged 86.

A trained mathematician, Simons worked as a Cold War codebreaker for the US National Security Agency during the mid-1960s, before shifting to Stony Brook University later in the decade where he chaired the maths department at the New York-based school.

Leaning on his mathematical expertise, Simons left academia and in 1978 founded a hedge fund. Renamed Renaissance Technologies in 1982, the company was a pioneer of quantitative trading strategies that paid off famously for its flagship Medallion Fund.

The billionaire stepped back from the day-to-day management of Renaissance in 2010. In early 2021, he stepped back from his role as co-chair of the fund and from his family’s Simons Foundation, which sponsors research in mathematics and basic sciences.

“Jim was an exceptional leader who did transformative work in mathematics and developed a world-leading investment company,” Simons Foundation president David Spergel said on Friday in announcing the investor’s death.

Simons is survived by his wife, three children, five grandchildren and a great-grandchild, according to his family foundation.

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