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Ada Lovelace Day


Know an inspirational woman? Give her some credit and celebrate Ada Lovelace Day...

I know I said normal service would be resumed this week but as I landed this morning at 5am, I’m finding myself slightly jet-lagged and even less capable of converting incoherent thought into (semi) coherent essay.  I didn’t want to let today pass without some form of blog entry, though, and as I reposted an old one last week, I didn’t want to do that again.  I was particularly keen to write something new when I noticed that today is Ada Lovelace Day.

Ada Lovelace (actually, Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace) was born in 1815 and was the only legitimate child of George Gordon, who was better known as Lord Byron, the original “mad, bad and dangerous to know” poet and all round wild man.  Lovelace met Charles Babbage around 1833 and became fascinated by his Difference Engine and Analytical Engine.  It was for the latter (which was sadly never constructed) that she wrote what is widely thought to be the world’s first algorithm.  Bear in mind that the Difference Engine was essentially the world’s first computer and Lovelace’s algorithm the world’s first computer programme.  That’s a lot of world’s firsts and if none of that impresses you (and it should) remember that 90% of what you do on the internet essentially relies on some form of algorithm.

As well as being a mathematical genius, Lovelace was an accomplished musician, fluent in French, had a scientific paper published and still somehow found time to pack in three children, an opium addiction and a suspected affair.  She died shockingly young at the age of 36, of cancer, and Ada Lovelace Day (the actual date tends to float around a little) is the day on which inspirational women are recognised and celebrated, particularly in the primarily male-dominated fields of science and engineering.

So, if you know of someone who fits that bill, head over to and share your story.

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