Ada's Algorithm

Ada's Algorithm

How Lord Byron's Daughter Ada Lovelace Launched the Digital Age

Book - 2014
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"[Ada Lovelace], like Steve Jobs, stands at the intersection of arts and technology."--Walter Isaacson, author of The Innovators

Over 150 years after her death, a widely-used scientific computer program was named "Ada," after Ada Lovelace, the only legitimate daughter of the eighteenth century's version of a rock star, Lord Byron. Why?

Because, after computer pioneers such as Alan Turing began to rediscover her, it slowly became apparent that she had been a key but overlooked figure in the invention of the computer.

In Ada Lovelace , James Essinger makes the case that the computer age could have started two centuries ago if Lovelace's contemporaries had recognized her research and fully grasped its implications.

It's a remarkable tale, starting with the outrageous behavior of her father, which made Ada instantly famous upon birth. Ada would go on to overcome numerous obstacles to obtain a level of education typically forbidden to women of her day. She would eventually join forces with Charles Babbage, generally credited with inventing the computer, although as Essinger makes clear, Babbage couldn't have done it without Lovelace. Indeed, Lovelace wrote what is today considered the world's first computer program--despite opposition that the principles of science were "beyond the strength of a woman's physical power of application."

Based on ten years of research and filled with fascinating characters and observations of the period, not to mention numerous illustrations, Essinger tells Ada's fascinating story in unprecedented detail to absorbing and inspiring effect.
Publisher: Brooklyn, NY :, Melville House,, [2014]
Copyright Date: ©2014
ISBN: 9781612194080
Characteristics: xvi, 254 pages : illustrations


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May 27, 2018

Ada's position in the history of computing science is either dramatically overstated or dramatically understated, depending on which historian is speaking at the time. In this well researched biography, James Essinger aims to prove how Ada Lovelace's singular contribution to the digital age has been vastly overlooked. I can't agree with Essinger's opinion here; however, regardless of her involvement with early computing, Ada Lovelace remains a very interesting historical figure for many other reasons.

Dec 14, 2015

It is sad that women in the 19th century were so undervalued. Ada Lovelace was a genius, who wrote the first computer program back in 1843. Her partnership with Charles Babbage is the stuff of legends, except it is a true story. Was their relationship more intimate than the correspondence they shared? We don't know. The fact they were rebuffed by their own government demonstrates how further along in technology we would be at NOW if we had just made the computer back then.

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