Jim Simons was a mathematician and cryptographer who realized: the complex math he used to break codes could help explain patterns in the world of finance. Billions later, he’s working to support the next generation of math teachers and scholars.

In this video, TED’s Chris Anderson sits down with Simons to talk about his extraordinary life in numbers.

In this documentary from 2010, vpro explores the people at the intersection of advanced mathematics and finance: quants. Quants are the math wizards and computer programmers in the engine room of our global financial system who designed the financial products that almost crashed Wall street ten years ago. The credit crunch showed how the global financial system became increasingly dependent on mathematical models trying to quantify human/economic behavior.