Ada Countess of Lovelace was born Augusta Ada King-Noel . She was a British mathematician and writer and is known as the world’s first computer programmer after she has worked on the analytical engine developed by Charles Babbage, arguably the inventor of the computer.
Ada was the first to recognise that the machine had applications beyond pure calculation, while many others focused only on those capabilities.
And published the first algorithm intended to be carried out by such a machine.
At the age of 12, she conceptualised a flying maching. The young girl studied the anatomy of birds and the suitability of various materials and illustrated plans of her flying machine.
Ada married William King in 1835. He was then made Earl of Lovelace in 1838 and Ada became Countess of Lovelace.
The computer language she created on behalf of the United States Department of Defense was named after Lovelace. This came after US Navy Commander Jack Cooper suggested it and everyone approved.
Her contributions to computing were not recognised until a CENTURY after her death ! This is probably because her ideas about computing were so far ahead of their times that it took time for technology to catch up. Indeed, Lovelace’s notes on Babbage’s analytical engine found a much wider audience when they were published in 1953 then at the time they were originally published in 1843.
The British Computer Society has awarded the Lovelace Medal since 1998 and initiated an annual competition for women students in 2008.
Watch the video to learn more about this incredible woman !
A blue plaque has been installed in St James’s Square in Westminster to commemorate this Virago woman. If you’re in the area why not check it out yourself! The address is
12 St James’s Square, St James’s, London SW1Y 4RB
Article and video by Justine Chalabi