Renaissance Technologies' Jim Simons recently plunked down $7.8 million in cash to fund the first leg of a major study of 2,000 families of autistic children. The massive research project will last two years and involve DNA testing of blood samples collected from autistic individuals. Eventually, it will involve 11 universities. Simons, whose daughter is autistic, is also committed to following through with larger sums, according to the Newark Star-Ledger. The Simons Foundation has pledged a total of $100 million for the fight against autism.