James Simons, who founded East Setauket-based Renaissance Technologies, was the world's second highest earning hedge fund manager in 2014, pulling in $1.2 billion, according to a new ranking from Institutional Investor's Alpha, an online publication.

Simons, the former head of Stony Brook University's mathematics department who struck it rich by devising computer securities-trading programs, was edged out of the top spot by Kenneth Griffin with $1.3 billion in earnings in 2014 from his Chicago-based Citadel investment firm.

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Still, Simons, who stepped back from day-to-day management of the firm in 2009, is the only hedge fund manager who has made the list every year since it was begun 14 years ago.

A year ago, Alpha estimated that Simons earned $2.2 billion from his fund in 2013. That year, he ranked number four on Alpha's earnings list.

Griffin took the top spot from David Tepper of Appaloosa Management, who fell to No. 11 with $400 million in earnings.

Rounding out the top five were: Raymond Dalio, Bridgewater Associates, $1.1 billion; William Ackman, Pershing Square Capital Management, $950 million; and Israel Englander, Millennium Management, $900 million.