Monday, June 01, 2015

James Simons interview

A great interview with Jim Simons. From academic mathematics to code breaking to financial markets :-)


bob mugabe said...

a surface is locally flat but globally round. hmmmm. just like the P(G,E) surface.
but steve is just too fucking retarded to get it.

dickbutternut said...

lay that pipe, son

dickbutternut said...


Cornelius said...

Very interesting interview. He touches on several issues.

He hints that other hedge funds have discovered the same trading strategies but that Rentec does it better. I've had dinner with the founder of one of those other hedge funds and he says the same thing, although he characterizes it as "a little better" which I tend to think is a more accurate statement. This other founder believes that the efficient markets hypothesis is by far the most accurate description of the markets we've developed so far, and it sounds like Simons would probably agree. A different hedge fund manager estimates the level of inefficiency in global markets is between $60-$70B annually.

He ponders the question of whether he considers himself a businessman or a mathematician. I get this question about physics occasionally. My PhD is in biophysics but I went through a traditional physics PhD program so that is the training I rely on. I am a businessman now but I will always be a physicist.

He may be going down the wrong path in mathematics education. Maybe it's just a curriculum problem. When you dissect the student data by ethnicity, every major ethnic group in the US performs at or near the top compared to co-ethnics in other countries on reading and science. American students perform about as well as their co-ethnics in mathematics. I don't buy the claim that good math teachers are all working in the private sector now.

He believes that government should support more basic research but that a lot of government money goes into translational research now. That's the problem when governments insert themselves into an industry that produces large externalities. How do you quantify those externalities to figure out the optimum output? What incentives does the government have to reach that optimum? What constraints? What incentives does the government have to reach something other than the optimum?

I recently discovered that Quanta Magazine is associated with the Simons Foundations. No wonder the magazine is so good. It's like Popular Science for real scientists.

Bobdisqus said...

Hello Steve

These news stories have me thinking, are the results of the
virus history of those rare people of extreme longevity different from the rest
of us? Are the signature segments their adaptive immune systems use different,
and can we learn from them some optimum set of signatures and then transfer
those to embryos.

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