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March 26, 2016
Table of Contents

1 Introduction
2 Life
Ada Lovelace



Image:Ada Lovelace 1838.jpg|thumb|200px|right|Ada Lovelace
Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace (December 10, 1815 – November 27, 1852) is mainly known for having written a description of
Charles Babbage's early mechanical general-purpose computer, the analytical engine.

Ada was the only legitimate child of the poet George Gordon Byron, 6th Baron Byron|Lord Byron and his wife, Anne Isabella Milbanke|Annabella Milbanke. Ada was named after Byron's half-sister, Augusta Leigh, by whom he was rumoured to have fathered a child. It was Augusta who encouraged Byron to marry to avoid scandal, and he reluctantly chose Annabella. On January 16, 1816, Annabella left Byron, taking 1-month old Ada with her. On April 21, Byron signed the Deed of Separation and left England for good a few days later. He was never allowed to see either again.

Ada lived with her mother, as apparent in her father's correspondence concerning her. Lady Byron was also highly interested in mathematics (Lord Byron once called her "the queen of parallelograms"), which dominated her life, even after marriage. Her obsession with rooting out any of the insanity of which she accused Lord Byron was one of the reasons why Annabella taught Ada mathematics at an early age. She was privately schooled in mathematics and science; one of her tutors was Augustus De Morgan. An active member of London society, she was a member of the Bluestockings in her youth.

Image:Ada Lovelace.jpg|thumb|200px|left|Ada Lovelace
In 1835 she married William King, 1st Earl of Lovelace|William King, 8th Baron King, later Earl of Lovelace|1st Earl of Lovelace. They had three children; Byron born 12 May 1836, Annabella (Lady Anne Blunt) born 22 September 1837 and Ralph Gordon born 2 July 1839. The family lived at Ockham Park, at Ockham, Surrey. Her full name and title for most of her married life was The Right Honourable Augusta Ada, Countess of Lovelace. She is widely known in modern times simply as Ada Lovelace.

She knew Mary Somerville, noted researcher and scientific author of the 19th century, who introduced her in turn to Charles Babbage on June 5, 1833. Other acquaintances were David Brewster|Sir David Brewster, Charles Wheatstone, Charles Dickens and Michael Faraday.

During a nine-month period in 1842-1843, Ada translated for Babbage Italian mathematician Luigi Menabrea's memoir on Babbage's newest proposed machine, the Analytical Engine. With the article, she appended Ada Byron's notes on the analytical engine|a set of Notes which specified in complete detail a method for calculating Bernoulli numbers with the Engine, recognized by historians as the world's first computer program. Biographers note, however, that the programs were written by Babbage himself, and Lovelace simply found a mistake in the program for calculating Bernoulli numbers and sent it back for amendment. The evidence and correspondence between Lovelace and Babbage indicate that he wrote all of the programs in the notes appended to the Menebrea translation. Her prose acknowledged some possibilities of the machine which Babbage never published, such as speculating that "the Engine might compose elaborate and scientific pieces of music of any degree of complexity or extent."

Ada Lovelace died at 36 after being Bloodletting|bled to death by her physicians; she had uterine cancer. Thus, she died, ironically, not only at the same age as her father did, but even of the same cause - the mistaken custom of bloodletting. She left two sons and a daughter, Lady Anne Blunt, famous in her own right as a traveller in the Middle East and a breeder of Arabian horses.

At her own request, Lovelace was buried next to the father she never knew at the Church of St. Mary Magdalene, Hucknall|Church of St. Mary Magdalene in Hucknall, Nottingham.

Biographers have noted that Lovelace struggled with mathematics, and there is some debate as to whether Lovelace understood deeply the concepts behind programming Babbage's engine, or was more of a figurehead used by Babbage for public relations purposes.

As an early woman in computing, Lovelace occupies a politically sensitive space in the canon of historical figures in computer science, and therefore the extent of her contribution versus Babbage's remains difficult to assess based on current sources.

  • On December 10, 1980, (Ada's birthday), the U.S. Defense Department approved the reference manual for their new computer programming language, called "Ada programming language|Ada".

  • The U.S. Defense Standard|Department of Defense Military Standard for Ada (MIL-STD-1815) was assigned a number to commemorate the year of her birth.

  • On the math-mystery cartoon, Cyberchase, she appears as the animated character Lady Ada Lovelace, voiced by Saturday Night Live comedian Jane Curtin. The episode is "Hugs and Witches" (#201) which premiered February 14, 2002 on PBS Kids GO!.

  • She is one of the main characters in the alternate history novel The Difference Engine by Bruce Sterling and William Gibson (novelist)|William Gibson, which posits a world in which Babbage's machines were mass production|mass produced and the computer age started a century early.

  • Lord Byron's Novel by John Crowley is a pastiche of a novel supposedly by Byron (in real life he did begin writing one, but is not known to have completed it), discovered after his death by his daughter, edited and with commentary by her.

  • Her image can be seen on the Microsoft product authenticity hologram stickers.

  • Ada Byron's notes on the analytical engine

  • Women in computing

  • Ada programming language

  • http://www.sdsc.edu/ScienceWomen/lovelace.html Ada Lovelace: Founder of Scientific Computing (SDSC Women in Science)

  • MacTutor Biography|id=Lovelace

  • http://vms.www.uwplatt.edu/~wise/lovelace/lovelace.html WISE Project biography

  • http://www.cs.yale.edu/homes/tap/ada-lovelace.html A page of (mostly broken) links to biographies, etc

  • http://www.cs.yale.edu/homes/tap/Files/ada-lovelace-notes.html Ada Lovelace's Notes and The Ladies Diary

  • http://www.educause.edu/pub/er/review/reviewArticles/31240.html Ada & the Analytical Engine

  • http://www.cs.kuleuven.ac.be/~dirk/ada-belgium/pictures.html Ada Picture Gallery includes freely copyable pictures of Ada

  • http://www.fourmilab.ch/babbage/sketch.html Full text of translation of "Sketch of the Analytical Engine" by L. F. Menabrea with Ada's notes and extensive commentary

  • http://www.techtv.com/news/culture/story/0,24195,3316503,00.html An article on the Ada controversy, and http://www.techtv.com/news/culture/jump/0,24196,3316508,00.html Was Ada really the first programmer?

  • http://www.newyorker.com/critics/books/?010305crbo_Holt_Books_C Jim Holt's "The Ada Perplex," from the New Yorker

  • http://www.scottlan.edu/lriddle/women/love.htm A brief biography of Ada Augusta, Countess of Lovelace with links to other resources related to Ada

  • http://plus.maths.org/issue34/features/ada/ Ada Lovelace - visions of today

  • http://www.hucknall-parish-church.org.uk/ada.htm Hucknall Parish Church, Ada's final resting place

Category:1815 births|Lovelace, Ada
Category:1852 deaths|Lovelace, Ada
Category:Computer pioneers|Lovelace, Ada
Category:British mathematicians|Lovelace, Ada
Category:British scientists|Lovelace, Ada
Category:Women scientists|Lovelace, Ada
Category:Women computer scientists|Lovelace, Ada
Category:British women|Lovelace, Ada

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Ada Lovelace".

Last Modified:   2005-12-19

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