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Ada's algorithm : how Lord Byron's daughter Ada Lovelace launched the digital age / James Essinger.

By: Essinger, James, 1957- [author.].
Material type: TextTextDescription: xvi, 254 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm.Content type: text Media type: unmediated Carrier type: volumeISBN: 9781612194080; 1612194087.Subject(s): Lovelace, Ada King, Countess of, 1815-1852 | Babbage, Charles, 1791-1871 | Women mathematicians -- Great Britain -- Biography | Mathematicians -- Great Britain -- Biography | Computers -- History -- 19th centuryDDC classification: 510.92 | B Other classification: COM080000 | BIO022000 | HIS015000 Online resources: Cover image
Contents:
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.
Summary: 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."
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Item type Current location Call number Status Date due Barcode
Book University of Texas At Tyler
Stacks - 3rd Floor
QA29.L72 E87 2014 (Browse shelf) Available 0000002102333

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."

Reviews provided by Syndetics

CHOICE Review

Framing his text around primary correspondence, Essinger (Jacquard's Web, 2004) effectively supports his premise that Ada Lovelace (1815-1852) was shaped by contrasts, having the poetic imagination of her father, Lord Byron, but incorporating the mathematical sensibilities and discipline of her mother, Lady Byron (Anne Isabella Noel). Though constrained by 19th-century societal norms and expectations for women, she challenged those norms through often-tenacious individualism and educational pursuit. Essinger argues that Ada has frequently been presented as solely an underling to the mathematician and inventor Charles Babbage. However, the historical record, such as her pivotal Notes and even Babbage's autobiography, illustrate her as a visionary of "the intellectual prehistory of the computer" (in contrast to Babbage's more utilitarian purposes for his Difference Engine and Analytical Engine). The author adeptly utilizes the available evidence to counterbalance unsubstantiated or out-of-context portrayals of Lovelace as a sufferer of mental illness and a substance abuser; in her last years, she took laudanum to help treat symptoms of uterine cancer. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All women's history, 19th-century studies, and history of information technology collections. --Kyle D. Winward, Central College

Author notes provided by Syndetics

JAMES ESSINGER is a writer with a particular interest in the history of ideas that have had a practical impact on the modern world. His previous book, Jacquard's Web: How a Hand-Loom Led to the Birth of the Information Age (2004), was chosen as one of the top 5 popular science books of the year by the Economist .

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