Remembering Jim Simons (1938–2024)

Jim Simons cropped for homepage

Dear friends,

I deeply mourn the passing of Jim Simons, the founding benefactor of the Simons Institute for the Theory of Computing, whose vision, generosity, and commitment to mathematics and the sciences have changed the face of theoretical computer science and the Berkeley campus. His legacy will be felt for generations. 

Jim was a giant in mind, soul, and personality. With an undergraduate degree from MIT and PhD from UC Berkeley, Jim went on to become chair of the math department at Stony Brook, where he made great strides in topology, string theory, and condensed matter physics. He went on to pioneer the field of quantitative trading, and founded one of the most profitable investment firms in history, Renaissance Technologies.Later in life, Jim turned his focus toward making a difference in the world, with far-reaching philanthropic investments through the Simons FoundationSimons Foundation International, and Math for America.

Among his many accomplishments as a philanthropist, Jim, along with his wife, Marilyn, established the Simons Institute for the Theory of Computing at UC Berkeley, which I’ve had the honor to serve as director these last six years. In founding the Institute, a unique international center of collaborative research in TCS and adjoining fields, Jim and Marilyn have made an indelible impact on research in our field, as well as on the career trajectories of generations of young scientists.

Jim was greater than life, generous beyond measure. He will be deeply missed. יהי זכרו ברוך


Shafi Goldwasser
Director, Simons Institute for the Theory of Computing