|10th of December, 1815
|27th of November, 1852
|“Your best and wisest refuge from all troubles is in your science”
|First computer programmer
|Region of World
|England, 19th century
|The Absolute 9 Most Influential Women In History
Over 200 years before the existence of the modern computer was a woman who started computer programming.
Her name is Ada Lovelace and in the early 19th century she visited Charles Babbage and his early computer prototype. Immediately she was fascinated by the rudimentary machine only capable of calculations.
At once she started working on a way to easily perform computations using the machine. These notes became the world’s first computer program.
Since then Ada Lovelace’s impact on society has grown more prominent. Today we have computers, algorithms, and wireless telephones. During the time of Lovelace leading technology consisted of cannons, carriages, and sail. Today thanks to Lovelace we now have computers, satellites, wireless phones, and the internet.
This article demonstrates the 3 greatest impacts that the world’s first computer programmer has had on history.
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Now without further ado let’s jump into the 3 impacts from Ada Lovelace.
Increasing Computational Speed
Ada Lovelace existed during a time when women had little opportunity in education. In spite of this Ada taught herself mathematics from an early age. Her mother was adamant that the young Ada be given as many opportunities to learn as possible.
Lovelace was known for her highly analytical personality and love for knowledge. Of all the fields of academia, none intrigued her more than mathematics. It was this love for mathematics that allowed Ada Lovelace to easily break down complex problems into easy-to-solve solutions.
Within the field of mathematics, Ada was interested most in the inherent computation ability. She recognized the problem with modern computational abilities and how long it would take to perform.
That’s why in June of 1833 when she visited Charles Babbage her world changed. Charles Babbage created a prototype of the world’s first modern computer called a difference engine. This amazing machine was capable of performing basic mathematical automation and resembled modern computers.
Almost at once, Lovelace recognized the ability of this machine to perform advanced calculations with ease and speed. She would spend countless hours performing calculations and studying the machine. So much so that Charles Babbage would name her the “Enchantress of Number.” It was her fascination with mathematics and logic that propelled Lovelace to spend all day and night studying Babbage’s counting machine.
While studying Babbage’s machine Ada would create a series of notes called Note G that outlined how to streamline a process of advanced calculations. This set of notes became the world’s first computer software program. Today when we program in a computer we often look at documentation on what functions to call or how to perform a built-in piece of code. The first instance of this was Ada’s 1830s Note G documentation.
Simply put, Ada Lovelace created the first library for coding ever. Her Note G handbook on how to perform advanced equations allowed for a simple way to use Babbage’s machine to calculate Bernoulli numbers or rational numbers that appear in a sequence.
Ada Lovelace unlocked computer programming for the world.
Today we still use Ada’s method of computational mathematics to build the basic level of computer programs. When you start to code you will still use the basic mathematics that Ada pioneered during her time in the early 19th century.
Because of this Ada is considered to be one of the most influential women of all time.
Spreading Knowledge Of Computers During Her Time
It was not enough that Ada Lovelace made the world’s first computer program. Further, she focused on translating papers from Italian and French into English to spread across the U.K.
In 1840 Babbage was invited to give a presentation at the University of Turin on the possibilities of his new analytical engine. Ada Lovelace would be tasked with translating this lecture into English while adding her own notes.
This English translation with Ada’s notes was published in 1843 under the name Scientific Memoirs. Within this book, Ada’s notes descend alphabetically from A-G getting more advanced as they progress with the pages.
On note G she pens what would become the world’s first software program. A series of shorthand commands to enter into the machine that would in turn easily perform abstract calculations.
This was huge. Ada Lovelace saw what the other mathematicians could not see, that numbers could represent commands or other entities.
This was the start of the computer revolution in many ways. Lovelace had discovered that within computation data you could house commands or instructions. That these commands and instructions could be saved for future use, or as modern programmers say “calling.”
Simply put, Ada’s notes allowed for computation of more than just numbers. It opened up the world for the creation of a binary computer mechanism where each command could represent another thing.
Ada’s notes spread across Europe bringing the knowledge of computers to all those who read her notes. Because of this, the west would over time begin to institute computational mechanisms that would eventually create the modern world today.
Ada’s biggest impact on history has been her creation of computer software.
Unlike computer software, computer hardware is the physical components that make up a computer. Things such as hard drives, RAM, CPUs, power supplies, and GPUs.
Ada gave us something much more powerful. Ada introduced the world to the power of software and how to program it.
Before Ada Lovelace people saw mathematics and computation ability only in terms of numbers. That the most advanced a ‘computer’ could be would be simple mathematics. Ada Lovelace saw something completely different. She saw that variables such as 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10 could represent other forms of data.
For example, we could tell a computer that the number 1 would mean “computer.” If we ever typed in the number 1 the computer would say “computer.”
Before Ada this was not even thought of. Ada created the world’s first software system. Since then she has changed the face of the world.
Examples of Ada Lovelace’s influence can be seen in satellites, phones, gaming computers, and the internet. Without her work on computer software, the world would look completely different.
There you have it, an entire article going over Ada Lovelace and how she changed history forever.
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