A Google Doodle today celebrates mathematician Ada Lovelace, widely known as the world’s first computer programmer, born on this date 197 years ago. His work on Charles Babbage Analytical engine is the first example of an algorithm intended to be processed by machine.
The Google logo today represents Lovelace sitting on a small desk and a wooden chair, writing her notes on the analytics engine. The images hovering over the Google logo feature variations of modern computers, with the Google logo itself made up of the curling paper she writes on.
Born December 10, 1815 in London, Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace was the daughter of Lord Byron. She will never know her father, who left England shortly after her birth and died years later in Greece.
His childhood was decidedly tumultuous, marked by an absent father, an indifferent mother and several episodes of illness. Yet she became a dedicated mathematician who foresaw the possibilities of computer science; his notes on the analytical engine showed his potential not only for performing calculations, but also processes.
The analytical engine was never completed, as Babbage did not have the funds to complete one of his machines. Only a small part was built shortly before his death in 1871. Yet Lovelace’s work on his concept foreshadowed the capabilities of modern computers that went into production in the 1940s.
Her mathematical influence undoubtedly came from her mother, who was so afraid that Ada might look like her poet father that she imposed a strict regime of scientific, logical and mathematical studies on her. His mentor, scientist Mary Somerville, introduced Lovelace to Babbage in 1833. Following his work on his analytical engine, Babbage Famous lovelace like “this Enchantress who cast her spell around the most abstract of Sciences and seized it with a force that few male minds could have exerted on her”.
Each year, Ada Lovelace Day commemorates the work of the world’s first programmer and inspires women in tech. This year, Ada Lovelace Day took place on October 16 and saw over 12,000 mentions of the event on Twitter. The occasion started in 2009, when the organizers placed a simple pledge on the UK civil action site, Pledgebank. This first year, nearly 2,000 people signed up to their blog to celebrate the women in tech they admired.