Nowadays computers have become an integral part of our lives and hence it has created a wide range of job opportunities suiting almost every talent and skill. But programming and coding is the most sought after. Nowadays coding is taught to kids from primary level.
Have you ever wondered who was the first programmer in the world?
Can you guess, when she/he started writing the code? 50 years back or 75 years?
The first programmer started writing codes almost 150 years back!
Don’t you want to know who she/he was?
Well the title of ‘First Programmer’ belongs to a woman. Her name was Ada Lovelace. She is regarded as the first computer programmer in the world. Her potential for intelligence came genetically, as she was the daughter of the poet Lord Byron and his first wife Anne Isabella Noel Byron.
Ada became a baroness in 1835 when she married William King, 8th Baron King. In 1838, she became Countess of Lovelace when her husband was elevated to Earl of Lovelace.
What she did was write the world’s first machine algorithm for an early computing machine that existed only on paper. Of course, someone had to be the first, and this was in the 1840s. Lovelace was a brilliant mathematician, in those times, when education was out of reach from women.
Ada Byron was a teenager when she met Cambridge mathematics professor Charles Babbage (commonly known as ‘Father of Computers’), who invented the Difference Engine. Babbage was impressed with the brilliant young woman, and they corresponded for years, discussing math and computing as he developed Analytical Engine.
In 1842, Babbage gave a lecture on the engine at the University of Turin, and Ada was given the task to write the transcript of the lecture. Lovelace added her own notes to the lecture, which ended up being three times as long as the actual transcript. It was published in 1843.
After this assignment, Babbage was clear that she understood the Analytical Engine, and furthermore, she understood how to make it do things computers do. She suggested the data input that would program the machine to calculate Bernoulli numbers, which is now considered as the first computer program. Babbage was so impressed with Ada’s contributions, he dubbed her “The Enchantress of Numbers”.
She predicted that machines like the Analytical Engine could be used to compose music, produce graphics, and be useful to science. Of course, all that came true – in another 100 years!
Lovelace died of cancer in 1852, when she was only 36. More than 150 years later, we remember her contributions to science and engineering in the celebration of Ada Lovelace Day on October 13. First celebrated in 2009, it is a day set aside to learn about women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.