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Billionaire quantitative investor Jim Simons dies at 86

By Ehren Wynder

May 10 (UPI) -- Billionaire mathematician Jim Simons, who pioneered quantitative trading, died Friday in New York City. He was at 86.

The Simons Foundation, which Simons co-founded along with his wife, Marilyn Simons, announced his death on its website.

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A lifelong mathematician, Simons is best known for employing mathematical models and algorithms to make investment decisions at a time when most investors were paying attention to a company's sales and earnings and profit margins.

"I have no opinion on any stocks ... The computer has its opinions and we slavishly follow them," he said in a CNBC interview in 2016.

After exiting academia, Simons in 1978 founded what would become Renaissance Technologies, a quantitative trading hedge fund that became one of the most profitable investment firms in history, beating out the likes of Warren Buffet and George Soros.

His flagship Medallion Fund earned more than $100 billion in trading profits from 1988 to 2018.

Simons and his wife established the Simons Foundation in 1994, which has donated billions of dollars to support research in fields such as autism, cellular biology, computational science and cosmology.

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He had an estimated net worth of $31.4 billion upon his death, according to Forbes.

During the Vietnam War, Simons worked as a codebreaker for U.S. intelligence against the Soviet Union.

He earned a bachelor's degree in mathematics from MIT, a Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of California at Berkeley and served as chair of the mathematics department at Stony Brook University in New York.

His mathematical breakthroughs have contributed greatly to fields such as string theory, topology and condensed matter physics, according to the foundation.

Simons is survived by his wife, three children, five grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

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