Who was the first British woman computer programmer?

ADA LOVELACE 1815 – 1852

In 1837, an English Mathematician named Charles Babbage designed a calculating machine which incorporated the essential structure that has underpinned every computer designed since.

However, it was his friend, Ada Lovelace, who is credited with realising the potential of Babbage’s machine to undertake more than calculation.

Ada saw that where Babbage worked only with numbers, his machine might be applied symbolically to other systems such as musical notes or weaving machines.

Ada is therefore credited with being the first person to devise a computer programme.

The poet, Lord Byron, was Ada’s father although her parents separated shortly after her birth and Byron was dead before Ada was eight years old.

Ada’s mother, Lady Wentworth, encouraged her education particularly her enjoyment of mathematics.

Aged twenty, Ada married a scientist, William King, who inherited the title of Earl of Lovelace a couple of years later.

Ada thus became the Countess of Lovelace.

Ada knew many of the pre-eminent scientists of the day including Michael Faraday and she was friendly with Charles Dickens.

Unfortunately, she died of cancer in 1852 and, although now disputed by some authorities, Ada Lovelace continues to be regarded as a significant woman in the development of computers.

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