While the tech industry has historically been dominated by men, many women have overcome gender stereotypes and challenges to make significant contributions to the industry. Today, we look at an inspirational woman who advanced and shaped the tech industry into what it is today.
Ada Lovelace was a pioneer of Computer Science and the first computer programmer. Born on December 10, 1815, she was the daughter of Lord Byron, a famous poet. Although she never knew him personally - he left Britain after separating with her mother two months after she was born - her mother feared that Ada would have the same erratic and “poetic” temperament as her father, and so she steered her daughter toward science and math from a young age.
In 1833, Ada Lovelace was introduced to Charles Babbage through a mutual friend, Mary Somerville, a Scottish author and mathematician who later played a vital role in the discovery of Neptune. Lovelace and Babbage had similarly eccentric personalities and became life-long friends. Babbage greatly admired Lovelace and even nicknamed her “The Enchantress of Numbers”. In the mid-1830s, when Babbage came up with plans for his Analytical Engine - an early version of a computer - Lovelace was fascinated by the idea and believed that it could eventually be used to do all sorts of things beyond just the mathematical calculations Babbage had imagined.
In 1843, Lovelace translated and annotated a paper by an Italian mathematician on the Analytical Engine, and her annotations included a detailed description of a program to compute Bernoulli numbers. This algorithm was considered the first computer program ever created. To honor her groundbreaking work in Computer Science, in 2009, October 10th was named Ada Lovelace Day, an international day that celebrates the achievements of women in STEM fields all around the world.