Essinger, James, 1957-

Ada's algorithm : how Lord Byron's daughter Ada Lovelace launched the digital age / James Essinger. - xvi, 254 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm

Includes bibliographical references (pages 239-242) and index.

Poetic beginnings -- Lord Byron : a scandalous ancestry -- Annabella : Anglo-Saxon attitudes -- The manor of parallelograms -- The art of flying -- Love -- Silken threads -- When Ada met Charles -- The thinking machine -- Kinship -- Mad scientist -- The analytical engine -- The Jacquard loom -- A mind with a view -- Ada's offer to Babbage -- The Enchantress of Number -- A horrible death -- Redemption.

Over 150 years after her death, a widely-used scientific computer program was named "Ada," after Ada Lovelace, the only legitimate daughter of the eighteenth century's version of a rock star, Lord Byron. Why? Because, after computer pioneers such as Alan Turing began to rediscover her, it slowly became apparent that she had been a key but overlooked figure in the invention of the computer. Essinger makes the case that the computer age could have started two centuries ago if Lovelace's contemporaries had recognized her research and fully grasped its implications. It's a remarkable tale, starting with the outrageous behavior of her father, which made Ada instantly famous upon birth. Ada would go on to overcome numerous obstacles to obtain a level of education typically forbidden to women of her day. She would eventually join forces with Charles Babbage, generally credited with inventing the computer, although as Essinger makes clear, Babbage couldn't have done it without Lovelace. Indeed, Lovelace wrote what is today considered the world's first computer program -- despite opposition that the principles of science were "beyond the strength of a woman's physical power of application."

9781612194080 1612194087


Lovelace, Ada King, Countess of, 1815-1852.
Babbage, Charles, 1791-1871.

Women mathematicians--Great Britain--Biography.
Mathematicians--Great Britain--Biography.
Computers--History--19th century.

QA29.L72 / E87 2014

510.92 B