• A.C.

Ada Lovelace

"Math is science, science is math."

Ada Lovelace was one of the people who most definitely revolutionized this phrase. You could refer to her as one of the mothers of computers. Ada Lovelace helped create the device you are looking at right now. But who was she?


Ada Lovelace was born in Piccadilly Terrace (now part of England) in 1815. Her parents, Lord Byron and Annabella Milbanke encouraged her to pursue a career-oriented towards science and math. Ada was constantly tutored in math growing up and grew up to be a mathematician way ahead of her time.

Charles Babbage

In 1833, Ada was acquainted with Charles Babbage, a professor at Cambridge University. Now, Charles is referred to as the father of computers, being Ada's intellectual peer and colleague. He and Lovelace worked together and corresponded for the next two decades.

The Analytical Engine

One of Charles Babbage's most well-known ideas was called the Analytical Engine, which he first thought of in 1837. In it were a central processing unit (the mill) and expandable memory (the store). Because the machine was controlled by punch cards that could input data, the Analytical Engine could perform numerous mathematical operations. It was similar to a calculator.

In 1843, Babbage asked Ada to assist him with translating the description of his machine written by an Italian mathematician. Ada helped with this, but along the way, created her own set of notes. In these notes, she described some errors that Babbage made while creating the machine and most importantly, how it could be used to calculate much more than just standard equations. Ada also noted that the machine could be used to calculate things such as Bernoulli numbers (series of figures or rational numbers thought to be frequently occurring in math). Ada Lovelace then proved her theory on this by diagramming the calculations the engine would make. By doing this, she wrote the first computer program. Her diagram is shown below.

Ada saw the Analytical Engine beyond a simple calculator. She saw it as something that could intertwine different worlds (both practical and scientific). For example, the engine could run music and show art. (Doesn't that remind you of a normal computer?) Though the machine was never really built or completed, Ada's work and notes were published.

Though Ada isn't alive today, her work and her creativity lie in the devices and electronics we use today.

Keep thinking!







Ada Image - wikepedia.com

Calculation Image - factmyth.com

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