Ada Byron's notes on the analytical engine

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Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace (10 December 1815 – 27 November 1852), born Augusta Ada Byron, was an English writer chiefly known for her work on Charles Babbage's early mechanical general-purpose computer, the analytical engine. Her notes on the engine include what is recognised as the first algorithm intended to be processed by a machine; as such she is regarded as the world's first computer programmer.[1][2]

She was the only legitimate child of the poet Lord Byron (with Anne Isabella Milbanke), but had no relationship with her father, who died when she was nine. As a young adult she took an interest in mathematics, and in particular Babbage's work on the analytical engine. Between 1842 and 1843 she translated an article by Italian mathematician Luigi Menabrea on the engine, which she supplemented with a set of notes of her own. These notes contain what is considered the first computer program—that is, an algorithm encoded for processing by a machine. Though Babbage's engine was never built, Lovelace's notes are important in the early history of computers. She also foresaw the capability of computers to go beyond mere calculating or number-crunching while others, including Babbage himself, focused only on these capabilities.[3]

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Biography

Ada Augusta Byron was born on December 10, 1815, she was the only child of the poet George Gordon, 6th Lord Byron and his wife, Anne Isabella "Annabella" Milbanke, Baroness Wentworth.[4] Byron, and many of those who knew Byron, expected that the baby would be "the glorious boy", and there was some disappointment at the contrary news.[5] She was named after Byron's half-sister, Augusta Leigh, and was called "Ada" by Byron himself.[6]

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