Pioneers of Computing: Ada Lovelace
Computer programmers are often stereotyped as geeky males, but the person often regarded as the first programmer was a woman, Ada, Lady Lovelace, daughter of poet Lord Byron.
Throughout her life, Lovelace was interested in science and mathematics and pursued a number of projects. Through a mutual colleague, she was introduced to Cambridge professor Charles Babbage, developer of a mechanical computer, the Analytical Engine.
One of her projects was to translate a paper about the Analytical Engine from Italian into English. She added her own notes, which included an algorithm for computing certain formulas. That set of instructions is usually regarded as the first "program." The programming language "Ada" is named in her honor.
You can read more about this amazing woman at —
- Ada and the First Computer, Scientific American Magazine, May 1999. (link downloads PDF file posted by Prof. Gabriel Robins, Univ. of VA).
- Ada Lovelace, Wikipedia.
- Ada Lovelace, Women in Science, San Diego Supercomputer Center.
This article originally appeared in our free semi-monthly newsletter. To receive future issues, please add your name to the subscription list.