Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace was an English mathematician and writer. She worked on Charles Babbage’s proposed mechanical general-purpose computer, the Analytical Engine. She is believed to have published the first algorithm intended to be carried out by such a machine. She died of uterine cancer in 1852 at the age of 36.
About Ada Lovelace in brief
Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace was an English mathematician and writer. She worked on Charles Babbage’s proposed mechanical general-purpose computer, the Analytical Engine. She is believed by some to be the first to recognise that the machine had applications beyond pure calculation, and to have published the first algorithm intended to be carried out by such a machine. She died of uterine cancer in 1852 at the age of 36. She was the only child of poet Lord Byron and Lady Byron. Lord Byron separated from his wife a month after Ada was born and left England forever four months later. He died in Greece when Ada was eight years old. Her mother remained bitter and promoted Ada’s interest in mathematics and logic in an effort to prevent her from developing her father’s perceived insanity. She did not have a close relationship with her mother, who doted on her maternal grandmother, Lady Milbanke. Her father died in 1824 and she was not shown a portrait of her father until her 20th birthday. She had a relationship with Charles Wheatstone, but he died before she was able to meet him. She married William King in 1835. King was made Earl ofLovelace in 1838, Ada thereby becoming Countess. Her educational and social exploits brought her into contact with scientists such as Andrew Crosse,Charles Babbage, Sir David Brewster, Michael Faraday and the author Charles Dickens. She also developed a vision of the capability of computers to go beyond mere calculating or number-crunching, while many others, including Babbage himself, focused only on those capabilities.
Ada described her approach as ‘poetical science’ and herself as an ‘Analyst’ Her notes are important in the early history of computers, containing what many consider to be the first computer program—that is, an algorithm designed to be carry out by a machine, and are called ‘Notes’ by some historians. Other historians reject this perspective and point out that Babbage’s personal notes from the years 18361837 contain the first programs for the engine. Ada was buried next to her father at her request, and did not want to be buried in a casket. She never had any children of her own and was left in the care of her mother Judith, who wrote letters to her for the rest of her life to present herself as a loving mother to Ada. Ada did not know that her father was an immoral man, and she did not make allegations about her husband to make him seem less immoral. In 1824, Lady Byron left for her parents’ home at Kirkby Mallory, taking their five-week-old daughter with her. Although English law at the time granted full custody of children to the father in cases of separation, Lord Byron made no attempt to claim his parental rights, but did request that his sister keep him informed of Ada’s welfare. Although Lady Byron made allegations against her husband, she never made any allegations against him.