[clug] Ada Lovelace Day

Lana Brindley lanabrindley at gmail.com
Wed Mar 24 23:24:54 MDT 2010

I'm a little late posting this, but anyway, here goes ...

The 24th March (which it still is, in a very few parts of the world ...) was
last year declared "Ada Lovelace Day". It is described on the official
website as "an international day of blogging to celebrate the achievements
of women in technology and science".[0]

Countess Ada Lovelace[1] assisted Charles Babbage[2] on the development of
his "Analytical Engine"[3] in the mid 1800's. The Analytical Engine was more
or less a forerunner to the pocket calculator, and is considered among the
very first mechanical computers. While Charles Babbage was the mastermind
behind the engine itself (the hardware engineer, if you will), Ada Lovelace
was fascinated by the machine, and developed a programming language for it.
This has become what is now popularly known as the first programming
language, and the Countess Lovelace the first computer programmer.

Unfortunately for Babbage, the Analytical Engine was never built in his
lifetime. This is blamed on a number of things - lack of government support
(in the form of cold, hard cash) chief amongst them. Unfortunately for the
Countess Lovelace, her programming language was never tested in her
lifetime. This was blamed on one main problem - the lack of a computer to
run it on.

Interestingly, the Analytical Engine was built eventually. It now lives in a
museum in London, if you feel really keen to go and see it. Perhaps even
more interesting, though, is the fact that Ada Lovelace's legacy lives on,
150 years later, in the form of the high-level computer language called

So, with history proving that women can program along with the best of them
- and do so wearing a corset, hat, and gloves - take a moment to reflect on
the women that you know who work in the engineering, science, computing, and
IT industries. And maybe send them an email, or give them a call, and tell
them they're doing a great job.


[0] http://findingada.com/about/
[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ada_lovelace
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Babbage
[3] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Analytical_engine
[4] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ada_(programming_language)

Cheers! Lana

I do not want people to be agreeable, as it saves me the trouble of liking
 - Jane Austen


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