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Ada Lovelace

Ada Lovelace: 10 December 1815 – 27 November 1852

 

English mathematician Lovelace was best known for her work on Charles Babbage’s proposed mechanical general-purpose computer, the Analytical Engine. She published the first algorithm intended to be carried out by a machine and is therefore thought of as one of the world’s first computer programmers.

Between 1842-43, Lovelace translated an article by Italian military engineer Luigi Menabrea on the calculating engine. She supplemented her translations with an elaborate set of notes, so detailed that they contain what many consider to be the first computer programme.

Her vision was that computers had capabilities beyond just calculations. Lovelace described her approach to her work as ‘poetical science’ and this led her to ask questions and challenge the thinking of many at that time, including Babbage.

Daughter of poet Lord Byron, Ada married William King in 1835 who was later made the Earl of Lovelace, Ada therefore becoming the Countess of Lovelace.

They spent their honeymoon at Worthy Manor in Ashley Combe near Porlock Weir, Somerset, on the edge of Exmoor, and it later became their summer retreat.