Happy Birthday Ada Lovelace! You would have been 197 years old today!
For women in Tech, Ada Lovelace shows that even back in the 1800s, women could do some amazing things!
Ada Lovelace was the visionary half of the team that helped create the modern computer. Lovelace is honored by Google as the ‘first computer programmer.’
That’s quite an accomplishment for a woman who was born 197 years ago – born today (December 10th) but back in 1815! From Ada Lovelace’s Wikipedia entry:
Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace (10 December 1815 – 27 November 1852), born Augusta Ada Byron and now commonly known asAda Lovelace, was an English mathematician and writer chiefly known for her work on Charles Babbage‘s early mechanical general-purpose computer, the Analytical Engine. Her notes on the engine include what is recognised as the first algorithm intended to be processed by a machine. Because of this, she is often considered the world’s first computer programmer.
Ada was the only legitimate child of the poet Lord Byron and his wife Anne Isabella Byron. She had no relationship with her father, who separated from her mother just a month after Ada was born; four months later Byron left England forever and died in Greece when Ada was eight. As a young adult, she took an interest in mathematics, and in particular Babbage’s work on the analytical engine. Between 1842 and 1843, she translated an article by Italian mathematician Luigi Menabrea on the engine, which she supplemented with aset of notes of her own. These notes contain what is considered the first computer program – that is, an algorithm encoded for processing by a machine. Ada’s notes are important in the earlyhistory of computers. She also foresaw the capability of computers to go beyond mere calculating or number-crunching while others, including Babbage himself, focused only on these capabilities.
The inventor, Charles Babbage, had the following to say about Ada Lovelace as quoted from her Wikipedia article,
Ada Lovelace met and corresponded with Charles Babbage on many occasions, including socially and in relation to Babbage’s Difference Engine and Analytical Engine. They first met through their mutual friend Mary Somerville; Ada became fascinated with his Difference Engine and used her relationship with Somerville to visit him as often as she could. In later years, she became acquainted with Babbage’s Italian friend Fortunato Prandi, an associate of revolutionaries.
Babbage was impressed by Ada’s intellect and writing skills. He called her “The Enchantress of Numbers”. In 1843 he wrote of her:
Forget this world and all its troubles and if
possible its multitudinous Charlatans – every thing
in short but the Enchantress of Numbers.
Here are a few more links about Ada Lovelace:
Secret Ada is on sale today for $2.99 (40% off for a limited time) in the iTunes Store.
On the Panopy Blog:
I have a meta-entry for Ada Lovelace Day. Instead of writing about a particular women (I’ve already written about 45 of them so far in my iPhone app, Secret Ada), the topic is “Women in Technology: Why Care About Gender?”
I snagged Secret Ada today and have been having a blast with it. Deciphering text to read about the 45 women!
I hope Panopy makes Secret Ada for the Android soon too!