An Wang made many contributions to the advancement of computer technology, including the magnetic pulse controlling device, the principle upon which magnetic core memory is based. Born in Shanghai, China, Wang came to the United States in 1945. He received his B.S. from Chiao Tung University in Shanghai in 1940 and his Ph.D. in applied physics from Harvard University in 1948. He did postdoctoral work at the Harvard Computation Laboratory. He founded Wang Laboratories in 1951 to develop specialty electronic devices.
In 1965 he introduced LOCI, a desk top computer. This forerunner of the Wang electronic desk calculators used a keyboard like that of an adding machine but offered the unique feature of generating logarithms with a single keystroke. Every year since the production of the first LOCI, Wang Labs engineers have conceived and designed electronic instruments and systems, maintaining a steady progression of innovations in the office automation and information processing field.
At his death, Wang was chairman of the board and CEO of Wang Labs and held over 35 patents relating to computer technology.