Celebrating Ada Lovelace Day

Ada Lovelace

Ada Lovelace Day is an international day of blogging to celebrate the achievements of women in technology and science.

Who was Ada?

Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace was born on 10th December 1815, the only child of Lord Byron and his wife, Annabella. Born Augusta Ada Byron, but now known simply as Ada Lovelace, she wrote the world’s first computer programmes for the Analytical Engine, a general-purpose machine that Charles Babbage had invented. Ada had been taught mathematics from a very young age by her mother and met Babbage in 1833. Ten years later she translated Luigi Menabrea’s memoir on Babbage’s Analytical Engine, appending notes that included a method for calculating Bernoulli numbers with the machine – the first computer programme. The calculations were never carried out, as the machine was never built. She also wrote the very first description of a computer and of software.

Understanding that computers could do a lot more than just crunch numbers, Ada suggested that the Analytical Engine “might compose elaborate and scientific pieces of music of any degree of complexity or extent.” She never had the chance to fully explore the possibilities of either Babbage’s inventions or her own understanding of computing. She died, aged only 36, on 27th November 1852, of cancer and bloodletting by her physicians.

You can find out more about Ada Lovelace Day here. A great video for children about Ada is here. An illustrated brief biography is here.

And you can read a very recent piece in the New York Times with the shocking (not really) headline “Bias Called Persistent Hurdle for Women in Sciences” here.

5 thoughts on “Celebrating Ada Lovelace Day

  1. There was an interesting article on Lovelace in _Lingua Franca_ several years ago, though it doesn’t seem to be easily on-line. Perhaps libraries still have the back issues.

  2. ADA is my mentor, she inspires me along my way since I entered the faculty of engineering.

    The best part of her life that she was a writer and an extraordinary computer scientist.

    She proved to me that we”women” can do anything we want to do.

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