Computer Programming - History of Computer Programming

Computer Programming

According to many people, the first computer programmer was the English noblewoman Ada Lovelace. In 1843, she published a sequence of steps to perform using a computing machine designed by her friend, Charles Babbage. These notes are considered the first computer program.

In 1840, Charles Babbage gave a lecture about his computing machine in Italy. An Italian mathematician wrote a transcript of the lecture and published it. Ada Lovelace translated the article to English, and spent nine months writing additional notes about it. The notes were three times longer than the article. One section of the notes included a method to use Charles Babbage's machine to calculate Bernoulli numbers, a mathematical sequence. As a mathematician, they were a subject of interest to Ada. This method was an algorithm designed to be carried out by a machine, which is the simplest description of a computer program.

  • The program that Ada Lovelace wrote was for Charles Babbage's "Analytical Engine", a mechanical general-purpose computer he designed, but never completed. The design included memory, an arithmetic logic unit (processor), and control flow for looping. This means it would have had all of the key elements of a modern computer.

  • Ada Lovelace was the child of the English poet George Lord Byron, though he left the country less than a year after she was born, and never returned. Her mother, Anne Milbanke, supported Ada's love of mathematics and science.

  • Ada was born in 1815 as "The Honourable Augusta Ada Byron", and married William, 8th Baron King in 1835. William was made the Earl of Lovelace in 1838, making her the Countess of Lovelace. They had three children.

  • The first electronic computers were not built until the 1940s, but the early work of Ada Lovelace was an important moment in the history of computers.

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