Lovelace, Ada

Lovelace, Ada (Augusta Ada King-Noel, Countess of Lovelace), 1815–1852, English mathematician, b. London as Augusta Ada Byron. The daughter of the poet Lord Byron and Anne Isabella Milbanke, she was raised by her mother, who had an interest in mathematics and science and introduced her daughter to leading British intellectuals. At age 17 she met the mathematician and inventor Charles Babbage, with whom she formed a friendship around common interests, especially his Analytical Engine, a mechanical calculator. In 1843 Lovelace published her translation from the French of a paper about Babbage's invention, adding extensive annotations in which she outlined instructions that would allow the device to make various calculations; she is now widely regarded as the first computer programmer.

See biographies by B.A. Toole (1998) and J. Essinger (2013).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: Mathematics: Biographies