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An Wang
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Computer Tech
    (February 7, 1920-March 24, 1990)
    Born in Shanghai, China
    Co-inventor of magnetic core memory
    Held 35 patents
    Founded Wang Laboratories (1951)
    Marketed calculators in the 60s word processors in the 70s and minicomputers and desktop computers in the 80s
    After IBM challenged his magnetic core memory patents (1956), he held a grudge against the company for the rest of his life.
    As a result of being logarithm based, his first calculator, the Wang LOCI-2 (1965), insisted that the answer for 2x2 was 3.999999999.
    He had to de-list the company from the New York Stock Exchange for using non-NYSE-approved techniques to maintain family control of the company.
    His first personal computer was deliberately incompatible with IBM's, which limited the software it could run and contributed to its commercial failure.
    His attempt to install his son Fred as his successor did not work out and he had to fire Fred (1989).
    His company went bankrupt two years after his death.
    He built his own radios as a high school student and during WWII designed receivers and transmitters for the Chinese army.
    His word processors were designed for easy use by people unfamiliar with computers.
    He said, 'Success is more a function of consistent common sense than it is of genius.'
    He was described as 'rare in being a technological genius who knew how to run a business.'
    He was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame (1988).
    I got through the profile without a single wang-based penis joke.

Credit: C. Fishel


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