By: Althea Ocomen
Who Was Ada Lovelace?
The girl of renowned worldwide writer Lord Byron, Augusta Ada Byron, Countess of Lovelace — better known as "Ada Lovelace" — showed her gift for science at an early age. She interpreted an editorial on an invention by Charles Babbage and included her own comments. Because she presented numerous computer concepts, Lovelace is considered the first computer software engineer. She passed away on November 27, 1852.
Ada Lovelace, born as Augusta Ada Byron on December 10, 1815, was the only legitimate child of the celebrated writer Master George Gordon Byron. Lord Byron's marriage to Lovelace's mother, Lady Anne Isabella Milbanke Byron, was not a cheerful one. Lady Byron isolated herself from her husband weeks after their daughter was born. Some months afterwards, Master Byron left Britain, and Lovelace never saw her father again. He died in Greece when Ada was 8 years old.
Lovelace had an abnormal childhood for an aristocratic young lady within the mid-1800s. At her mother's request, tutors taught her science. From early on, Lovelace showed a talent for numbers and language. She received instruction from William Frend, a social reformer; William King, the family's doctor; and Mary Somerville, a Scottish astronomer, and mathematician. Somerville was one of the first ladies to be admitted into the Regal Astronomical Society.
Babbage and the Analytical Engine
Around the age of 17, Ada met Charles Babbage, a mathematician, and inventor. The pair got to be companions, and the much older Babbage served as a tutor to Lovelace. Through Babbage, Lovelace started studying advanced arithmetic with the University of London professor Augustus de Morgan.
Lovelace was fascinated by Babbage's ideas. Known as the father of the computer, he invented the difference engine, which was meant to perform mathematical calculations and equations. Lovelace got an opportunity to look at the machine before it was finished, and was captivated by it. Babbage also created plans for another device known as the analytical engine, designed to handle more complex calculations, which was a splendid innovation.
Lovelace was later asked to translate an article on Babbage's analytical engine that had been written by Italian engineer Luigi Federico Menabrea for a Swiss journal. She not only translated the original French text into English but also added her own thoughts and ideas on the development of the machine. Her notes ended up being three times longer than the original article. Her work was published in 1843, in an English science journal, which proved her brilliant mind and achievements. Lovelace used only the initials "A.A.L.," for Augusta Ada Lovelace, in the publication.
In her notes, Lovelace portrayed how codes might be created for the device to handle letters and symbols along with numbers. She moreover theorized a strategy for the engine to repeat a series of instructions, a process known as looping that computer programs utilize nowadays. Lovelace also offered up other forward-thinking concepts within the article. For her work, Lovelace is frequently considered to be the first computer programmer.
Lovelace's contributions to the field of computer science were not discovered until the 1950s. Her notes were reintroduced to the world by B.V. Bowden, who republished them in Faster Than Thought: A Symposium on Digital Computing Machines in 1953. Since then, Ada has received many posthumous honors for her work. In 1980, the U.S. The Department of Defense named a newly developed computer language "Ada," after Lovelace. Lovelace has been attributed for inspiring Alan Turing's work on the first modern day computers which have greatly made an impact on our current generation. Her legacy has opened opportunities and doors for women to take up a prestigious role in the STEM field.