Feeds

Google honors computing's first developer Ada Lovelace

Babbage's 'Enchantress of numbers' remembered

Security for virtualized datacentres

Google has started the week with a Google Doodle offering a rather belated acknowledgement of the contribution of computing of Ada Lovelace, who wrote the first theoretical software algorithm for her friend Charles Babbage's Analytical Engine.

Lovelace, daughter of mad, bad, and dangerous to know Lord Byron, was a close associate of Babbage, who in 1843 called her his "Enchantress of numbers," and she was a prominent mathematician of her time. Lovelace was fortunate to receive a top-level education in a time when most women were taught to be seen and not heard and her mathematical skills endeared her to Babbage.

In turn, Lovelace was intrigued by the possibilities of Babbage's designs for the Difference Engine and Analytical Engine that were the first mechanical computers ever designed, if not built. Lovelace published a proposed algorithm for the latter engine for tabulating Bernoulli numbers, and also spotted a bug in one of Babbage's own programs.

Of course, it was over a century before Babbage's designs were eventually brought to fruition, and Lovelace never received the recognition she deserved in her lifetime, although the US military did name the ADA programming language in her honor in the 1980s and in 1998 she was awarded a posthumous medal from the British Computer Society.

But she still tops the list of other great underrerated female computing legends, such as Turing Award winners Frances Allen and Barbara Liskov and the late, great Rear Admiral Grace Hopper, who gave us the first compiler, helped invent COBOL, and popularized the term "bug" to indicate a code fault.

Even Google is coming to Lovelace's cause late in the game. Monday's Doodle is a response to the 198th anniversary of Lovelace's birth, but it might have been more appropriate to do the image last month on November 27, the 150th anniversary of her death, or on Ada Lovelace Day on October 16 this year.

Nevertheless every little bit helps, and perhaps more people will appreciate that, boyish as it is, IT has been and will always be of interest to both sexes – something too many school systems still don’t recognize. ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Boffins say they've got Lithium batteries the wrong way around
Surprises at the nano-scale mean our ideas about how they charge could be all wrong
Thought that last dinosaur was BIG? This one's bloody ENORMOUS
Weighed several adult elephants, contend boffins
Europe prepares to INVADE comet: Rosetta landing site chosen
No word yet on whether backup site is labelled 'K'
City hidden beneath England's Stonehenge had HUMAN ABATTOIR. And a pub
Boozed-up ancients drank beer before tearing corpses apart
'Duck face' selfie in SPAAAACE: Rosetta's snap with bird comet
Probe prepares to make first landing on fast-moving rock
Archaeologists and robots on hunt for more Antikythera pieces
How much of the world's oldest computer can they find?
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.