Since it’s International Women’s Day we would like to introduce you to the person who initiated what we today call programming.
The first programmer – Ada Lovelace – was a British Mathematician and Poet. From a young age, private tutors taught her mathematics and science. Such challenging subjects were not common among girls in the nineteenth century. However, Ada’s mother believed that rigorous study routine would prevent Ada from developing her father’s moody character and help her to self-discipline.
In 1833 Ada met a mathematician and inventor – Charles Babbage who was considered a father of computers. He introduced Ada to many of his inventions including the difference engine which drew her attention and fascinated her. In 1840 Babbage delivered a lecture at the University of Turin about an analytical engine he worked on. Later, an Italian engineer, Luigi Menabresa, published an article based on the lecture. By a request of Babbage’s friend, Ada Lovelace translated the article from French. As a curious and knowledgeable woman, Ada included not only the translation but also her notes which turned out to be three times longer than the article itself! She described how coding could help the device handle letters, symbols and numbers simultaneously. She also put forward a method for the engine to repeat a series of instructions. Sounds familiar? Today, we know this process as looping. As you might have noticed, programming was from the very beginning a “girly” thing!