Dear, John.

     In Ukraine we remember about Ada Lovelace Birthday and  hers role
     in computer history.
     
My best wishes to you.
               Alexander



> 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

> 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
> http://www.cs.uni.edu/~mccormic/


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