Inventor Spotlight: Ada Lovelace – The countess of computers

Inventor Spotlight: Ada Lovelace – The countess of computers

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We live in a technological age, where computers run many aspects of life. But what if we couldn’t instruct them on what to do? What if we couldn’t communicate with them? Computers need a programming language to be able to function. Thanks to Ada Lovelace they have just that.

Born in December 10, 1815, Augusta Ada Byron was a British mathematician and writer, and  often regarded as the world’s first computer programmer for her work on Charles Babbage’s Analytical Engine, one of the earliest general purpose computers. 

As a gifted mathematician, Ada was approached by the fellow mathematician, Charles Babbage and asked to contribute to his work. Babbage, also known as “the father of computer,” was working on the Analytical Engine, one of the first general purpose computers.

Ada created “Notes”, her published work, which contained one of the first algorithms or step by step directives for a computer’s operation. In other words, Ada  used mathematics to create a language for programming a computer.

What made Ada truly exceptional was her ability to see mathematics as a beautiful language, a sort of poetry that made sense of the universe, rather than just number crunching.

Her contributions to the world of computer programming earned her universal acclaim. When the US government was experimenting with an early programming language, their chosen version was given the name ‘ADA’.

 

Timeline

1815 – Augusta Ada Byron is born

1833 – Ada meets Charles Babbage and is introduced to his Analytical Engine

1835 – Ada weds William King

1838 – William and Ada become Earl and Countess of Lovelace

1843 – Ada’s translation and Notes on the Analytical Engine are published

1890 – Hollerith of the United States uses the punch card for sorting and tabulating information for the United States Census

1931 – Vannevar Bush of MIT builds the first modern analog computer

1946 – ENIAC becomes the first digital computer built

1974 – The US military proposes a common high-order computer language

1975 – First version of the computer language called Strawman followed by Woodenman

1978 – A winning language selected after extensive review of all versions.

1980 – Language named “Ada” in her honor

 

 

Inquiry – Digging Deeper

 

Dig a little deeper by looking at all the parts of the computer and how they work together, with the programming language, to deliver what you need.