20 May 1921|
"Jinan, "Shandong, "China
13 May 1995|
"New York City, "New York, United States
|Alma mater||"National Southwestern Associated University, "Tsinghua University, "Harvard University|
|Known for||"Wang tiles|
|Fields||"Mathematics, "philosophy, "computer science|
|Institutions||"Harvard University, "Oxford University, "Rockefeller University|
|"Doctoral advisor||"Willard Quine|
|Doctoral students||"Stephen Cook, "Shimon Even|
Born in "Jinan, "Shandong, in the "Republic of China (today in the "People's Republic of China), Wang received his early education in China. He obtained a B.Sc. degree in "mathematics from the "National Southwestern Associated University in 1943 and an M.A. in "Philosophy from "Tsinghua University in 1945, where his teachers included "Feng Youlan and "Jin Yuelin, after which he moved to the United States for further graduate studies. He studied logic at "Harvard University, culminating in a Ph.D. in 1948. He was appointed to an assistant professorship at Harvard the same year.
During the early 1950s, Wang studied with "Paul Bernays in "Zurich. In 1956, he was appointed Reader in the Philosophy of Mathematics at "Oxford University. In 1959, Wang wrote on an "IBM704 computer a program that in only 9 minutes mechanically proved several hundred "mathematical logic theorems in "Whitehead and "Russell's "Principia Mathematica. In 1961, he was appointed "Gordon Mckay Professor of Mathematical Logic and Applied Mathematics at Harvard. From 1967 until 1991, he headed the logic research group at "Rockefeller University in "New York City, where he was "professor of logic. In 1972, Wang joined in a group of Chinese American scientists led by "Chih-Kung Jen as the first such delegation from the U.S. to the People's Republic of China.
One of Wang's most important contributions was the "Wang tile. He showed that any "Turing machine can be turned into a set of Wang tiles. The first noted example of "aperiodic tiling is a set of Wang tiles, whose nonexistence Wang had once conjectured, discovered by his student "Robert Berger in 1966. A philosopher in his own right, Wang also developed a penetrating interpretation of "Ludwig Wittgenstein's later philosophy of mathematics, which he called "anthropologism." He chronicled "Kurt Gödel's philosophical ideas and authored several books on the subject, thereby providing contemporary scholars an inestimable resource for Gödel's later philosophical thought.
In 1983 he was presented with the first Milestone Prize for "Automated Theorem-Proving, sponsored by the "International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence.