In Ukraine we remember about Ada Lovelace Birthday and hers role
in computer history.
My best wishes to you.
> On December 10, 1815, Anna Isabella (Annabella) Byron, whose husband
> was Lord Byron, gave birth to a daughter, Augusta Ada. Ada's father
> was a romantic poet whose fame derived not only from his works but
> also from his wild and scandalous behavior. His marriage to
> Annabella was strained from the beginning, and Annabella left Byron
> just a little more than a month after Ada was born. By April of that
> year, Annabella and Byron signed separation papers, and Byron left
> England, never to return.
> Byron's writings show that he greatly regretted that he was unable to
> see his daughter. In one poem, for example, he wrote of Ada,
> I see thee not. I hear thee not.
> But none can be so rapt in thee.
> Byron died in Greece at the age of 36, and one of the last things he said was,
> Oh my poor dear child! My dear Ada! My God, could I but have
> seen her!
> Meanwhile, Annabella, who was eventually to become a baroness in her
> own right, and who was herself educated as both a mathematician and a
> poet, carried on with Ada's upbringing and education. Annabella gave
> Ada her first instruction in mathematics, but it soon became clear
> that Ada's gift for the subject was such that it required more
> extensive tutoring. Ada received further training in mathematics
> from Augustus DeMorgan, who is today famous for one of the basic
> theorems of Boolean algebra, which forms the basis for modern
> computers. By the age of eight, Ada also had demonstrated an
> interest in mechanical devices and was building detailed model boats.
> When she was 18, Ada visited the Mechanics Institute to hear Dr.
> Dionysius Lardner's lectures on the "difference engine," a mechanical
> calculating machine being built by Charles Babbage. She became so
> interested in the device that she arranged to be introduced to
> Babbage. It was said that, upon seeing Babbage's machine, Ada was
> the only person in the room to understand immediately how it worked
> and to appreciate its significance.
> Ada and Babbage became good friends and she worked with him for the
> rest of her life, helping to document his designs, translating
> writings about his work, and developing programs to be used on his
> machines. Unfortunately, Babbage never completed construction of any
> of his designs. Even so, today Ada is recognized as being the first
> computer programmer in history. That title, however, does not do full
> justice to her genius.
> Around the time that Babbage met Ada, he began the design for an even
> more ambitious machine called the "analytical engine," which we now
> recognize was the first programmable computer. Ada instantly grasped
> the implications of the device and foresaw its application in ways
> that even Babbage did not imagine. Ada believed that mathematics
> eventually would develop into a system of symbols that could be used
> to represent anything in the universe. From her notes, it is clear
> that Ada saw that the analytical engine could go beyond arithmetic
> computations and become a general manipulator of symbols, and thus it
> would be capable of almost anything. She even suggested that such a
> device could eventually be programmed with rules of harmony and
> composition so that it could produce "scientific" music. In effect,
> Ada foresaw the field of artificial intelligence over 150 years ago.
> In 1842, Babbage went to Turin, Italy, and gave a series of lectures
> on his analytical engine. One of the attendees was Luigi Menabrea,
> who was so impressed that he wrote an account of Babbage's
> lectures. At age 27, Ada decided to translate the account into
> English, with the intent to add a few of her own notes about the
> machine. In the end, her notes were twice as long as the original
> material, and the document, "The Sketch of the Analytical Engine,"
> became the definitive work on the subject.
> It is obvious from Ada's letters that her "notes" were entirely her
> own and that Babbage was acting as a sometimes unappreciated editor.
> At one point, Ada wrote to him,
> "I am much annoyed at your having altered my Note. You know I am
> always willing to make any required alterations myself, but that I
> cannot endure another person to meddle with my sentences."
> Ada gained the title Countess of Lovelace when she married Lord
> William Lovelace. The couple had three children, but Ada was so
> consumed by her love of mathematics that she left their upbringing to
> her mother. For a woman of that day, such behavior was considered
> almost as scandalous as some of her father's exploits, but her
> husband was actually quite supportive of her work.
> In 1852, Ada died from cancer. Sadly, if she had lived just one year
> longer, she would have witnessed the unveiling of a working
> difference engine built from one of Babbage's designs by George and
> Edward Scheutz in Sweden. Like her father, Ada lived only until she
> was 36, and, even though they led much different lives, she
> undoubtedly admired Byron and took inspiration from his
> unconventional and rebellious nature. At the end, Ada asked to be
> buried beside him at the family's estate.
> Ada Lovelace biography material excerpted from "Programming and
> Problem Solving with Ada 95" by Dale, Weems, and McCormick. Jones &
> Bartlett Publishers.
> The film "To Dream Tomorrow" from Flare Productions,
> www.flarefilms.org, tells the story of Ada Lovelace and her
> contributions to computing. I recommend it to all Team-Ada
> members. See if you can find the error on her tomb.
> John W. McCormick [log in to unmask]
> Computer Science Department
> University of Northern Iowa voice (319) 273-6056
> Cedar Falls, IA 50614-0507 fax (319) 273-7123
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