by Yasemin Saplakoglu, Scientific American
Pioneering 19th-century English mathematician Ada Lovelace is honored on the second Tuesday of every October for her contributions to computer programming, which include a seminal paper detailing the function of an “Analytical Engine.”
Former Open Rights Group executive director Suw Charman-Anderson in 2009 accorded this recognition to Lovelace to celebrate women’s accomplishments in math, science, and engineering. In 1843, Lovelace translated a French paper about mathematician Charles Babbage’s Difference Engine–a precursor to the Analytical Engine–and also provided annotations illustrating a description of the machine’s workings.
Her notes demonstrated how such a calculator might be able to compute Bernoulli numbers in a process that some describe as the world’s first computer program. Randolph-Macon College professor Adrian Rice says a more accurate description of Lovelace would be the world’s first debugger, since she unearthed a major error in Babbage’s calculations. Lovelace is credited with inspiring improvements to Babbage’s machine for both calculating tables and printing results. Read the article.
DCL: As many of you might remember, the DoD’s proposed programming language of the 1980’s, intended for all DoD applications, was named “Ada” after Ada Lovelace. And designed by a Frenchman, Jean Ichbiah. Working on a verifier for Ada which included multi-tasking constructs, first gave me ideas about event processing and CEP.