Who was Ada Lovelace?
Ada Lovelace was an English mathematician and writer, also known as the first computer programmer.
To remember her work and the work of many other women around the world, Ada Lovelace Day has become an international celebration of the achievements of women in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).
What is a computer programmer?
A programmer, developer, or software engineer is someone who creates computer software. For example, by writing the code for software applications and operating systems.
By developing, testing, and implementing computer programmes, experts in this field produce technology that can help people all over the world.
How did Ada become the first programmer?
At 17, Ada met Charles Babbage, a mathematician and inventor, who also became Ada’s mentor. Babbage was known as the father of the computer and Ada was fascinated by his ideas.
Babbage invented the Difference Engine and made plans for the Analytical Engine, both of which were machines designed to perform calculations.
Ada translated an article written about the Analytical Engine, adding her own thoughts and ideas whilst doing so, which included descriptions of how codes could be created for the device to handle letters and symbols along with numbers.
Her notes ended up being three times longer than the original article and her work was published in a science journal in 1843 with the initials A.A.L.
As the first computer programmer, Ada Lovelace continues to inspire women in STEM today.
What is STEM?
STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematic, four disciplines in education. STEAM also includes art into this grouping.
The focus on encouraging women in STEM subjects relates to the fact that historically, subject areas such as science, technology, engineering and mathematics have been predominantly male.
To address the gender imbalance and encourage diversity, days like the Ada Lovelace Day can be used as a celebration of inspiring women in STEM.
Celebrating an early tech icon
Rich Hill, CEO of Mind Doodle said:
“The first programming language I was taught at university was Ada, so she is someone I’ve known about for a long time. Both she and Babbage were pioneers, essential stepping stones along the journey to our modern digital world. As such, Ada is as important as more recent tech icons like Steve Wozniac, Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Michael Widenius and Matt Mullenweg. Let’s celebrate the first woman in tech, and encourage many more to follow her.”