When we think of Computer Programming, we are generally thinking of electronic based computing engines with code running out of some form of electronic memory and typed in using some form of keyboard. Even punch cards partially fit this paradigm. And they seem ancient now.
So would it surprise you to know that the first acknowledged computer programmer was born in 1815, and was a woman?
Introducing Ada Lovelace, or more formally Lady Ada King, Countess of Lovelace. Only daughter of a mathematics loving mother she was educated in science, logic and mathematics and eventually became a good friend of Charles Babbage. She was fascinated by his mechanical clockwork computing engines and although he never built one, she was able to describe them, there operation and programming algorithms for them in better detail than he was. Her papers became the primary works for describing these machines and their use, and eventually inspired Alan Turing in the 1940s that led to the modern computing machine concepts we now take for granted.
She died at 36. I can’t image what else she might have achieved given more time. Her contribution is celebrated on Ada Lovelace Day.
This link leads to a pictorial copy of one of the programs she wrote Ada Lovelace Computing Program.
Here are some references for those wanting tho know more:
- Who was Ada – a brief history of her life
- Sketch of the Analytic Machine – her detailed description of the operation of the machine
- Sketch of the Analytic Machine – web friendly version
As an interesting aside, before the invention of magnetic media, even the software was still hardware.
Successful Endeavours specialise in Electronics Design and Embedded SoftwareÂ Development. Ray Keefe has developed market leading electronics products in Australia for nearly 30 years. This post is Copyright © 2013 Successful Endeavours Pty Ltd.