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The World’s First Computer Programmer

Ada Lovelace’s contribution to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics gave her the title of the world’s first computer programmer.

Ada Countess of Lovelace

The computer industry is known to be dominated by men, but it was not always so. One of the most important figures in the history of technology was, in fact, a woman, she was known as Ada Lovelace, and she was the very first person to write a computer program.

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Augusta Ada Byron was born in London 1815 as the only daughter of the famous writer Lord Byron and his wife Anne Isabella Byron. Also known as Countess of Lovelace, she was influenced by her mother to study science and mathematics, and as her skills became more refined, Ada got the opportunity to help Charles Baggage to create the first calculating machine, which later came to be known as the “Analytical Engine”.

Blue Plaque Lovelace in St Jamess Square London

The new machine was recognized as the first example of a computer model and Ada’s contribution gave her the title of the world’s first computer programmer as her notes were later on used as the first algorithm intended to be carried out by a machine.

Countess of Lovelace died on 27 November 1852. The machine she helped create was not built during her lifetime, but her work was never forgotten, and in 1982 a structured programming language was—expectedly—named Ada as a tribute to one of the most significant characters in the history of technology.

Lovelace's Diagram from Note G

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She even has a day of her own, the “Ada Lovelace Day”, which is celebrated in mid-October and aims to remember the deeds of women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, as well as encourage more women to follow this path.

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