Ada was the daughter of the poet George Gordon, Lord Byron and his mathematics-loving wife Annabella Milbanke. Her mother raised her under a strict regimen of science, logic, and mathematics to hopefully prevent Ada from inheriting her father’s volatile poetic temperament.
As a child, Ada was fascinated by machines, and poured over the scientific magazines of the time. She married an aristocrat, Earl of Lovelace, which gave her the means to pursue her passion for the sciences.
Lived: 1815 - 1852 (England)
Why She Matters
Ada was the first computer programmer, creating the first algorithm meant for implementation on a computer.
Posed questions about how people and societies relate to technology as a collaborative tool
Questioned mathematical assumptions by merging poetry and science
Believed that intuition and imagination were essential to the effective application of mathematical and scientific concepts
Attempted to create a mathematical model for successful large bets
Found a problem in one of Babbage’s equations for the Analytical Engine, making her, arguably, the first debugger as well
Predicted the potential of computers to perform tasks more complex than simple math problems
Wanted to create a mathematical model for “a calculus of the nervous system” - how the brain gives rise to thoughts and nerves to feelings
Leaving a Legacy
Ada Lovelace Day is celebrated in mid-October to raise the profile of women in STEM
US Department of Defense created a programming language named after her
The Ada Initiative was created as a non-profit meant to increase the involvement of women in open source development
Adafruit Industries is an open-source hardware company named in her honor