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Happy Birthday, Ada

12/10/2015 9:32 AM

Today would've been the 200th birthday of Ada Lovelace, believed (by most) to be the first "computer programmer." In the early 1840s she wrote an algorithm for calculating Bernoulli numbers for Charles Babbage's analytical engine, considered the first Turing-complete computer. Considering that the engine was never completed, her program was never tested.

I wonder what these early computational pioneers would think of 2015...technology-wise, anyway.

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#1

Re: Happy Birthday, Ada

12/10/2015 10:21 AM

Wouldn't it be fun to bring her back to life and take her on a tour of all that has happened since in computing?

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#2

Re: Happy Birthday, Ada

12/10/2015 10:30 AM
Writing software is easy if it doesn't have to work...

It's also a lot easier if you can test it as you go, a luxury she obviously did not have.

I wonder if anyone has tested what she wrote to see if it would work.

200? That's pretty old, even for Unix programmers!

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#8
In reply to #2

Re: Happy Birthday, Ada

12/11/2015 1:55 AM

Maybe it's possible to emulate the Babage engine on an Arduino or Pi from Aidafruit and run Aida's code on it? Has anyone tried? I doubt I will anytime soon...

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#10
In reply to #8

Re: Happy Birthday, Ada

12/11/2015 3:22 AM

Do you like opera, by chance? There were two substitutions of "Aida" for "Ada".

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#3

Re: Happy Birthday, Ada

12/10/2015 11:08 AM

Quite. The company adafruit takes its name from her.

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#6
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Re: Happy Birthday, Ada

12/10/2015 2:58 PM

adafruit -- What a terrific site! Thanks for posting the link, Mikerho. Judging from the picture, this is an all-female-run company. Or maybe the men were politely excused from the photo session.

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#4

Re: Happy Birthday, Ada

12/10/2015 12:28 PM

Been reading her biography, she had quite a troubled life. Her father was the poet, Lord Byron & after her mother left him she was determined that Ada would not follow him into literature hence her education in mathematics & science, quite unusual in the day. She became Babbage's mistress despite being married to the Earl Lovelace.

If you ever actually pay for any Microsoft software the holographic picture on the disc is Ada's portrait.

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#5
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Re: Happy Birthday, Ada

12/10/2015 1:04 PM


Pretty hot for 200yr old...

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#7

Re: Happy Birthday, Ada

12/10/2015 4:07 PM

For anyone who is interested, Ada Lovelace has been featured on CR4 a few times... click here to read them all.

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#9

Re: Happy Birthday, Ada

12/11/2015 2:56 AM

A working Babbage Difference Engine type 2 was built and completed in the 1990s and can be seen running in the Science Museum, London, UK..

Here is a link or two:-

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r7OFT2RkCW4

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jiRgdaknJCg

http://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/onlinestuff/stories/babbage.aspx

It weighs more than a few tons, but it really does work and can even make printouts!!.

As far as I can tell, one of the first programs run was that of lovely Ada, who died far too young.....its difficult to be certain.

It appears on UK TV being run occasionally....

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#11

Re: Happy Birthday, Ada

12/11/2015 11:53 AM

Uh, military-mandated Ada was a flop!

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#12

Re: Happy Birthday, Ada

12/11/2015 2:51 PM

It just struck me, is Ada a long lost relative of Linda? Now thats a deep one isn't it?

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#13
In reply to #12

Re: Happy Birthday, Ada

12/11/2015 4:14 PM

HA! Sadly, Linda isn't one of Ada's relatives; Lovelace was a stage name. She was born Linda Susan Boreman.

However, the seminal Linda programming language -- which enabled linking multiple computers in parallel -- was named for Ms. Lovelace, supposedly as a mockery to the Ada programming language's name. Since I'm wandering off into the weeds here, I'll point out that David Gelernter, who wrote Linda, was a victim of the Unabomber.

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Users who posted comments:

70AARCuda (1); Andy Germany (2); BestInShow (2); Deefburger (1); Mikerho (1); Nigh (1); Rixter (1); SavvyExacta (1); SolarEagle (1); Tornado (2)

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