Ada Lovelace: A Mother of Three and of Computer Programming

Since ancient history, men have been treated as the masters of mathematics, technology, and science. However, the table was turned when Ada Lovelace, a beautiful lady with a soft and endearing name, took a step forward before any other men in the field of computer science to write the first program for computers in the 1800s.

Born in London on 10th of December, 1815, Ada Lovelace was the only legitimate child of the famous poet Lord George Gordon Byron.  At her mother’s insistence, Ada studied mathematics and science at a young age, which was uncommon for women at that time. The young girl’s talented nature and her challenging teachers helped her to become one of the first women to join the Royal Astronomical Society. When she was 17, Ada met Charles Babbage, a mathematician and inventor who later became Ada’s mentor. The young lady was asked to translate an article on Babbage’s analytical engine from French to English. Ada not only translated the work, she also added her own thoughts on the machine as notes at the end of the article. In her notes that were three times as long as the original article, Ada expressed her idea of using codes to let the computer generate letters and numbers. She also added the “looping” program, which was used to let the machine repeat an instruction numerous times. For her work, Ada was honored with the title of first computer programmer. On the other hand, the intelligent woman’s idea about creating a mathematical scheme to win at gambling was not nearly as successful and she fell into debt. She was married to William King in 1835 and had three children. Ada struggled with chronic health problems such as asthma and mental instability. She died in London on 27th of November, 1852, at the age of thirty six from uterine cancer. In honor to her work, the U.S. Department of Defense named a new computer language “Ada”.

When looking at Ada Lovelace’s portrait, a posh lady with an elegant stance, it is hard to connect her with the challenging and rational work of computer coding that is usually considered specialty of men. The Victorian’s early childhood development and her helpful colleagues led her to become the “Mother of Computer Programming”.

Links:

http://www.biography.com/people/ada-lovelace-20825323#personal-life

https://www.sdsc.edu/ScienceWomen/lovelace.html

http://www.computerhistory.org/babbage/adalovelace/

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