Women and science: Ada Lovelace, the first computer programmer

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Computers streamline everything we do, from creating our shopping list to checking the weather. With the Apple iOS Store adding around 20,000 apps per month, more and more of us are trying our hand at computer programming. But who was the first computer programmer?

Credit: Degui Adil / EyeEm
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These days, we save every email we send without even thinking about it, and we turn to our computers to tell us the weather rather than looking outside. Today’s teens will never know a world without Twitter. At the age of two, my toddler already knows how to start her favorite videos on my smartphone (those of her of course).

With the Apple iOS Store adding around 20,000 apps per month, coders around the world are turning computational problems into executable computer programs ranging from simple to complex. But who was the first to do it?

The first computer programmer

Lady Ada Lovelace, born in 1815, is considered by many to be the first computer programmer. Her mother Annabella Milbanke developed an interest in logic and math problems with Ada from an early age, supposedly to combat the influence of what she saw as Ada’s father’s unstable and erratic temperament, the poet Lord Byron. Lord Byron would have been disappointed that Ada was not a son and left her and her mother just a few months after Ada was born.

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