Since 2009, Utah has been the headquarters of the ULISSES Project. After years of working with some of the world's top financial and technology firms in beta deployment, the second stage of the Project began in 2014, transforming the technical innovations into integrated systems that could be more easily deployed by asset owners. It was at this point that the ULISSES Project found a home at the University of Utah and began working directly with top academics and practitioners in the state of Utah and Texas with the aim of training users in these next-generation technologies. Utah continues to be the headquarters for the ULISSES Project, providing significant advantages via its Innovative and entrepreneurial universities, vibrant technology ecosystem and its long-standing leadership in the pension fund community.
Utah universities have a tradition of producing innovative technologies, creating vibrant start-ups and cultivating fields of study that promise to form the basis of the economy of the future. From the beginning of the Internet to later transformative technologies such as simulation, 3-D modeling, and critical advances in object-oriented languages, Utah computer science has always been recognized for its innovation. Utah universities have been the birthplace of entire industries representing hundreds of billions of dollars in market capitalization, including the video game, computer animation, and bioinformatics industries. Ranking among the most entrepreneurial universities in the United States, each year, Utah universities cultivate hundreds of companies. As important as these for-profit endeavors are, Utah also has a long tradition of open source activity making significant contributions to the Linux and Python communities, including founding and seminal contributions to the NumPy and SciPy libraries.
Utah has always been an area of technological innovation, "doing more with less." This approach is in Utah's roots, with relatively small businesses producing technologies and structural innovations that have been implemented around the world. In more recent times, this innovation has been manifested in areas such as bioinformatics, computer visualization and now cloud-computing where Utah-based companies have emerged as successfully challenging the dominance of the "Big Three" (AWS, Azure and Google) by attacking niche markets such as online analytics and collaboration. This cloud-computing strategy led Forbes to crown Utah "Cloud Computing's New Capital." The only way these "David vs. Goliath" challenges have succeeded is by following what Tech Crunch has dubbed "the Utah Model" of extreme productivity implementations. The advantages that the Utah Model convey have not only utilized by start-ups and but also by established technology companies such as Adobe, Dell Technologies, and SAP, which all have extensive campuses in Utah. In addition to pure-play tech companies, groups such as Goldman Sachs and the NSA have also benefited by "the Utah Model" by locating some of their most important data analysis operations in Utah.
For the last 70 years, the State of Utah has provided vital leadership to the U.S. Pension Fund community. Utah was one of the first states that took statutory action to protect retiree benefits when in 1943 the Utah Supreme Court ruled to defend pensioners' rights. Over the next 25 years, Utah passed over 50 laws creating one of the nation's first consolidated pension funds. This unified structure allowed Utah to gain early economies of scale and begin the transformation towards insourcing, and in the process, Utah emerged as one of the best-run pension funds in the United States. In addition to its performance, Utah has provided key leadership in the pension fund community, aiding in founding, organizing and providing strategic direction to many of the most important professional organizations in the pension fund community. Utah was crucial in founding groups such as the NASIP (National Association of State Investment Professionals) and ISRP (Institutional Society of Risk Professionals). Utah has also provided leadership in significant international efforts such as the Open Protocol Enabling Risk Aggregation (openprotocol.org) and Standards Board for Alternative Investments (sbai.org).