Ada Lovelace An inspiring woman

Today marks #IWD2019 International Women's Day and we want to celebrate the amazing work of Ada Lovelace, without whom our world, and in particular our digital world, would look very different.

The highlights

There's loads of fact sheets about her personal life, parents etc, but we've chosen to concentrate on her work with Babbage's analytical engine, This was the beginning of the modern computer age...nearly 200 years ago.

Ada was about 17 when she met Charles Babbage, the mathematician and inventor. The pair became friends and worked together on numerous projects, with Babbage acting as a mentor figure. 

Ada was fascinated by Babbage's ideas - think of the the most outrageous ai claim you've heard and multiply it by 100, that's now forward thinking this work was.

Writing the code

Babbage is best known as the father of the computer, he invented a machine called the difference engine, which was meant to perform mathematical calculations. Ada got a chance to look at the machine before it was finished, and was captivated by it. Babbage also created plans for another device known as the analytical engine, designed to handle more complex calculations. A machine Ada wrote code for, creating the first algorithm. 

Some time later, Ada was asked to translate an article on Babbage's analytical engine that had been written by Italian engineer Luigi Federico Menabrea for a Swiss journal. She not only translated the original French text into English, but also added her own thoughts and ideas on the machine. Her notes ended up being three times longer than the original article. Her work was published in 1843, in an English science journal using the initials "A.A.L.," for Augusta Ada Lovelace. Unfortunately the article attracted little attention when she was alive.

In her later years, Ada tried developing mathematical schemes to win gambling games. Unfortunately she failed and this created many problems for her, without money she was in financial peril, for an older person in the 1850's this was a game changer. Ada died from uterine cancer in London on November 27, 1852. She is buried next to her father, in the graveyard of the Church of St. Mary Magdalene in Nottingham.

Addressing the balance

Ada's contribution to the world of computer technology was HUGE, whilst Babbage had devised the first 'computer' as we know it, Ada was the person who could see ways to apply the technology, developing new ideas and applications. She was incredibly innovative and sadly, like so many of histories greatest talents, her work went unrecognised at the time and for a long time afterwards.

Here's to our modern day Ada's who continue in the same vein, innovating and developing technology. We believe that we all have a role to play in creating a #BalanceforBetter The future is exciting. Let's build a gender-balanced world.