Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Ada Lovelace Day

I have just discovered that today is Ada Lovelace Day. There is a bit about Ada Lovelace on the BBC and more can be found without too much trouble - let me Google that for you. :-)

Analytical Engine
Originally uploaded by Gastev
I think the claim that she was the first programmer is pushing it a bit however, she was clearly a stunningly clever person. I heard a radio programme about her a few years ago and the part that impressed me the most was her realisation that Babbage was trying to build a general computational machine not just a number cruncher. Remember, she was writing about a machine that was never built but she realised that although it would work on numbers, those numbers could be made to represent anything. If the numbers represented colours, the Difference Engine could produce art. If the numbers represented musical notes, it could produce music. To make that kind of leap showed true brilliance.

So, Happy Ada Lovelace Day!

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