Today, the second Tuesday of October, or 8th October 2019 is Ada Lovelace Day – this is a day that has been celebrated since 2009. This day is a celebration of women in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) and is internationally recognised.
Ada was born on the 10th December 1815 to the poet Lord Bryon and Lady Byron. Ada married William King and became Lady King in 1835. She later was dubbed the Countess of Lovelace after it was found she was a descendant of the previously extinct Barons Lovelace.
She was introduced to Charles Babbage in 1833 and this led to her work as the first ever computer programmer. She was commissioned to translate Babbage’s lecture from French into English. In the process, she added her own notes; tripling the length of the lecture! Within these supplementary notes Lovelace wrote the first ever algorithm for Babbage’s Analytical Engine, and this was able to compute Bernoulli numbers. She has been widely cited as the first computer programmer.
Not only did Lovelace write the first ever computer program, but she saw the potential for numbers to represent other things besides themselves. For example, she put forward the idea that numbers could be used to symbolise letters. Her prediction has since come true, with numbers being used to represent thousands of different combinations, either as binary or even codes.
Charles Babbage was so pleased with her work that he dubbed her the “Enchantress of Numbers”. We have her, and of course Charles Babbage, to thank for the incredible variety of technology that we have today.
For future dates of Ada Lovelace Day, click here