Full text of A Rare Interview With the Mathematician Who Cracked Wall Street: Jim Simons at TED Talks
Listen to the MP3 Audio here: MP3 – A Rare Interview with the Mathematician Who Cracked Wall Street – Jim Simons at TED Talks
Chris Anderson: You were something of a mathematical phenom. You had already taught at Harvard and MIT at a young age. And then the NSA came calling. What was that about?
Jim Simons: Well the NSA — that’s the National Security Agency — they didn’t exactly come calling. They had an operation at Princeton, where they hired mathematicians to attack secret codes and stuff like that. And I knew that existed. And they had a very good policy, because you could do half your time at your own mathematics, and at least half your time working on their stuff. And they paid a lot. So that was an irresistible pull. So, I went there.
Chris Anderson: So you were a code-cracker.
Jim Simons: I was.
Chris Anderson: Until you got fired.
Jim Simons: Well, I did get fired. Yes.
Chris Anderson: How come?