Ada Lovelace Day

Ada Lovelace Day in 2013 will be celebrated on the 15th October.

“Who is Ada Lovelace?” is a question many people have asked.

The woman most often known as ‘Ada Lovelace’ was born Ada Gordon in 1815, sole child of the marriage of George Gordon, Lord Byron, and Annabella Milbanke.

At the age of 19 she was married to William King – Earl of Lovelace.

In 1833 she met Charles Babbage who had already attained considerable celebrity for his plans for clockwork calculating machines.

Lovelace was deeply intrigued by Babbage’s plans for the Analytical Engine, which combined the array of adding gears of his earlier Difference Engine with an elaborate punchcard operating system.

In 1842 she translated a short article describing the Analytical Engine by Italian mathematician Luigi Menabrea. The finished article was more than three times longer than the original and contained several early computer programs. Charles Babbage and his assistants had already worked on a number of basic programs, Ada’s were the first published and she is now known as the first computer programmer.

She died of cancer in 1852, several years after the publication of Sketch of the Analytical Engine, with Notes from the Translator.

The date for Ada Lovelace Day is chosen arbitrarily in an attempt to make the day maximally convenient for the most number of people to avoid major public holidays, school holidays, exam season, and times of the year when people might be hibernating.

The idea of the day is not just to celebrate Ada’s life but also to draw attention to and to celebrate women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) careers and to try to attract girls into following a STEM study path at school and university university and beyond.

This year the Little Miss Geek is running Put the Her in HERO campaign to get schools to celebrate female technology pioneers.

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Visit Finding Ada the official Ada Lovelace day website for organisations that are participating and for ideas in celebrating the day.

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