The First Computer Programmer: Ada Lovelace

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Ada Lovelace, daughter of the poet Lord Byron and the Countess of Lovelace, is considered the first computer programmer, despite having died in 1852 -- long before computers were actually built. Through her collaboration with Charles Babbage, Lovelace wrote "sequences of instructions" (programs) for Babbage's early mechanical computer (well, computer in theory -- it wasn't actually built until rather recently). Lovelace saw the potential of Babbage's computer as a device that could do more than arithmetic: she said, "[Babbage's computer] might compose elaborate and scientific pieces of music of any degree of complexity or extent." Here's a short biographical piece about her life and her contributions to computer science:

Information Pioneers: Ada Lovelace from Information Pioneers on Vimeo.

See also: Happy Ada Lovelace Day!

(Via Kottke.org.)

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