The World’s First Computer Programmer

Ada, Countess of Lovelace, 1839, engraving by William Henry Mote, after Alfred Edward Chalon (By permission of the National Portrait Gallery)

Ada, Countess of Lovelace, 1839, engraving by William Henry Mote,
after Alfred Edward Chalon
(By permission of the National Portrait Gallery)

Ada Lovelace is recognised as the world’s first computer scientist. She was an English mathematician, famous for writing a description of Charles Babbage’s early mechanical general-purpose computer the Analytical Engine.

She was the first to recognise that the machine had uses beyond pure calculation, creating the first algorithm intended to be carried out by such a machine that Babbage had not yet even invented. As such she is regarded as the first to recognise the full potential of a ‘computing machine’ and the first computer programmer.

Ada Lovelace lived at Sandown House in Esher from 1841 with her husband William King-Noel, Earl of Lovelace. Ada’s mother also lived nearby at Moore Place.

Ada died of uterine cancer aged 37, and at her own request was buried next to her father, Lord Byron, in the family vault at Newstead Abbey, Hucknall Torknard, near Nottingham.

Ada Lovelace is just one of the talented Surrey Women featured in Surrey Museums Month 2017. To find out more about the event and other celebrated Surrey Women click here.

Extract courtesy of Elmbridge Museum.

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