CMT119 Assessment 2023-24
Ada Lovelace - A Biography:
Image of Ada Lovelace
Born in 1815, she was the daughter of famous Romantic poet Lord Byron and baroness Anna Isabelle Milbank (Carlucci Aiello pp. 58-59, Jaeger p. 72). Lovelace is celebrated as the first computer programmer and is known “for her work with Charles Babbage on the Analytic Engine” (Carlucci Aiello pp. 59).
Lovelace’s Early Years:
Lovelace’s father separated from Milbank a month after the birth of Lovelace. Despite having never met her father, Lovelace developed an interest in his poetry. Milbank discouraged Lovelace’s pursuit of poetry, instead encouraging the study of mathematics. Even though women were not welcomed easily into male-dominated scientific spaces, Lovelace was able to engage with the scientific community and met many renowned scientists and mathematicians during her lifetime, including Darwin and Faraday (Carlucci Aiello pp. 59).
The First Computer Program:
In her paper “the Notes” (marked A to G), Lovelace detailed the first program for the Analytic Engine – “a general purpose mechanical calculator” created by Charles Babbage (Carlucci Aiello pp.58-60). The Analytic Engine operated using punched card - similar to Jacquard’s which were used to automate textile looms (Carlucci Aiello p. 58, Jaeger p. 77). Lovelace’s program, considered to be the first computer program, was detailed in Note G where an algorithm was described for the calculation of Bernoulli numbers (Carlucci Aiello p. 58). She also explained how the Analytic Engine could potentially “perform sequential operations” on pictures, musical notes, and letters (Jaeger p. 78-79). As the hardware was not completed during her life, the program did not run (Carlucci Aiello p. 60).
Lovelace’s Impact:
In her honour, in 2009 Ada Lovelace day was established by Suw Charman-Anderson and is “held worldwide on the second Tuesday of October” every year to encourage the celebration of women’s achievements in the field of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) (Carlucci Aiello pp 58-59). Unfortunately, Lovelace was unable to publish further technical documentations and she passed away in 1852 at the age of 36 (Carlucci Aiello pp. 58-59).


Carlucci Aiello, L. 2016. The multifaceted impact of Ada Lovelace in the digital age. Artificial intelligence 235, pp. 58-62. doi: 10.1016/j.artint.2016.02.003

Jaeger, L. 2023. Women of Genius in Science. Switzerland: Springer International Publishing AG.