This Tuesday, the findingada.com website celebrates the short but creative life of the 19th century woman who’s often called “the first computer programmer”. Huh? Computers in the 1800s? Well, around 1840, Englishman Charles Babbage designed and partially built steam-driven(!) complex mechanisms that could perform calculations.
Babbage’s unfinished piece de la resistance was the Analytical Engine, which used patterns of holes in small wooden cards to store data and machine instructions.
It was a programmable machine. Ada wrote a program for it that calculated Fibonacci numbers. She also mused about using such machines to create music and art.
The findingada website explains Ada Lovelace day:
The aim is to create new role models for girls and women in these male-dominated fields by raising the profile of other women in STEM.
I’ve written articles about Ada Lovelace before. I’ve always admired her rare blend of intellectual discipline and imagination.
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© Russ Bellew · Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA · phone 954 873-4695