David E. Shaw

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David Shaw
Born (1951-03-29) March 29, 1951 (age 71)
EducationUniversity of California, San Diego (BS)
Stanford University (MS, PhD)
Occupation(s)Investor, computational biochemist, and former hedge fund manager
Known forFounding and managing D. E. Shaw & Co.
SpouseBeth Kobliner

David Elliot Shaw (born March 29, 1951) is an American billionaire scientist and former hedge fund manager. He founded D. E. Shaw & Co., a hedge fund company which was once described by Fortune magazine as "the most intriguing and mysterious force on Wall Street".[1][2] A former assistant professor in the computer science department at Columbia University, Shaw made his fortune exploiting inefficiencies in financial markets with the help of state-of-the-art high speed computer networks. In 1996, Fortune magazine referred to him as "King Quant" because of his firm's pioneering role in high-speed quantitative trading.[1] In 2001, Shaw turned to full-time scientific research in computational biochemistry, more specifically molecular dynamics simulations of proteins.[3]

Early life and education[edit]

Shaw was raised in Los Angeles, California.[4] His father was a theoretical physicist who specialised in plasma and fluid flows, and his mother is an artist and educator.[4] They divorced when he was 12.[4] His stepfather, Irving Pfeffer, was professor of finance at University of California, Los Angeles, and the author of papers supporting the efficient market hypothesis.[4]

Shaw earned a bachelor's degree summa cum laude from the University of California, San Diego, a PhD from Stanford University in 1980, and then became an assistant professor of the department of computer science at Columbia University.[5][6] While at Columbia, Shaw conducted research in massively parallel computing with the NON-VON supercomputer. This supercomputer was composed of processing elements in a tree structure meant to be used for fast relational database searches. Earlier in his career, he founded Stanford Systems Corporation.

Investment career[edit]

In 1986, he joined Morgan Stanley, as Vice President for Technology in Nunzio Tartaglia's automated proprietary trading group. In 1994, Shaw was appointed by President Clinton to the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, where he was chairman of the Panel on Educational Technology. In 2000, he was elected to the board of directors of the American Association for the Advancement of Science served as its treasurer 2000–2010. In 2007, Shaw was elected as a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2009, he was appointed by President Obama again to the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.[7] In 2012, he was elected to the National Academy of Engineering and in 2014 was elected to the National Academy of Sciences.

D. E. Shaw[edit]

In 1988 he started his own hedge fund, D. E. Shaw & Co, which employed proprietary algorithms for securities trading. In 2018, Forbes estimated his net worth at $6.2 billion. He is also a senior research fellow at the Center for Computational Biology and Bioinformatics at Columbia University, and an adjunct professor of biomedical informatics at Columbia's medical school.[8] Shaw is chief scientist of D. E. Shaw Research, which conducts interdisciplinary research in the field of computational biochemistry.

According to the Institutional Investor's Alpha magazine's annual ranking for 2014,[9] D. E. Shaw, who made $530 million in 2014, and James H. Simons of Renaissance Technologies[10] who made $1.2 billion were among the top 25 earners in the hedge fund industry. They are both "quantitative strategists who founded firms that build algorithms for trading."[11]

Political and philanthropic donations[edit]

Shaw has donated US$2.25 million to Priorities USA Action, a super PAC supporting Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton[12] and $1 million to Organizing for Action.[13]

Through the Shaw Family Endowment Fund, by 2014 he and his wife have donated $400,000 to the Stephen Wise Free Synagogue, $400,000 to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, and $800,000 to the Horace Mann School.[13] From 2011 to 2017, the Fund annually donated $1 million to Yale University, Stanford University, Harvard University, Princeton University, and $500,000 to Columbia University and Brown University.[14] The college donations represent over 60% of the Fund's philanthropy.[15] Shaw was on the board of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.[13]

Personal life[edit]

Shaw is married to personal finance commentator and journalist Beth Kobliner.[13][16] Shaw is Jewish[17] and he and his wife are members of the Stephen Wise Free Synagogue in New York.[18] They have three children, and live in New York City.[19] In 2014, Shaw purchased several homes in Westchester County, New York and combined them into a mansion that received press attention.[20]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Aley, James (5 Feb 1996). "Wall Street's King Quant David Shaw's Secret Formulas Pile Up Money. Now He Wants a Piece of the Net". Fortune. Retrieved 21 Aug 2009.
  2. ^ "EXECUTIVE PROFILE: David Elliot Shaw Ph.D." BusinessWeek.
  3. ^ Borrell, Brendan (16 January 2008). "Chemistry: Power play". Nature. Retrieved 14 August 2012.
  4. ^ a b c d Bass, Thomas A (1 January 1997). "The Phynancier". Wired. Retrieved 10 October 2019.
  6. ^ "David E. Shaw". Forbes. Retrieved 18 March 2013.
  7. ^ "Office of Science and Technology Policy". The White House.
  8. ^ "Center for Computational Biology and Bioinformatics (C2B2) | Columbia University Department of Systems Biology". systemsbiology.columbia.edu.
  9. ^ Taub, Stephen (5 May 2015), "The 2015 Rich List: The Highest Earning Hedge Fund Managers of the Past Year", Alpha, retrieved 23 June 2015
  10. ^ Zuckerman, Gregory (2005-07-01). "Renaissance's Man: James Simons Does The Math on Fund". The Wall Street Journal.
  11. ^ "Morning Agenda: Big Paychecks Despite Tough Year", New York Times blog, 5 May 2015, retrieved 23 June 2015
  12. ^ "The Top Donors Backing Hillary Clinton's Super PAC". Forbes. May 27, 2016.
  13. ^ a b c d Cohen, Rick (June 20, 2014). "Philanthropically Speaking, Who are the Donors to Organizing for Action?". Nonprofit Quarterly.
  14. ^ "The Shaw Family Admission Plan One Wall Street billionaire and the ultimate college hedge". www.nymag.com. 28 September 2019.
  15. ^ Kofman, Ava; Golden, Daniel. "The Hedge Fund Billionaire's Guide to Buying Your Kids a Better Shot at Not Just One Elite College, but Lots of Them". ProPublica.
  16. ^ The Real Deal: "Hedge funder spends $75M on Westchester manse" August 01, 2012
  17. ^ Lee, Allen (2019). "20 Things You Didn't Know About David Shaw". Money Inc. Archived from the original on November 4, 2021 – via Wayback Machine. The couple is both members of the Stephen Wise Free Synagogue in New York and they have made significant contributions to their synagogue. They are a Jewish family.
  18. ^ "Stephen Wise Free Synagogue > Tikkun Olam - Center for Values and Community Service". Archived from the original on 2013-04-15. Retrieved 2013-04-29.
  19. ^ "Forbes profile: David Shaw". Forbes. Retrieved 6 March 2021.
  20. ^ Foderaro, Lisa W. (17 March 2014). "Billionaire's Sprawling Compound Challenges a Village's Mellow Ethos". The New York Times.

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