Those who are using Google search today are reminded of the world’s first computer algorithm, the work of Ada Byron, Countess of Lovelace, (10 December 1815 – 27 November 1852), whose 197th birthday anniversary is celebrated by Google today with one of its famous doodles.
Ada Lovelace is considered the world’s first computer programmer, although this is a matter of debate for some experts, because the computer in question was never built. But in 1840, Ada Lovelace translated from French to English a description of the Analytical Engine designed by English mathematician Charles Babbage. The description, by Luigi Menabrea, was annotated by Lovelace so extensively, that it is considered the world’s first algorithm intended to be processed by a machine. Not only that, but Lovelace also predicted that computers could be used for much more advanced processes than numbers-crunching.
She predicted, for instance, that computers might be used to write music:
“Supposing, for instance, that the fundamental relations of pitched sounds in the science of harmony and of musical composition were susceptible of such expression and adaptations, the engine might compose elaborate and scientific pieces of music of any degree of complexity or extent,” words attributed to Lovelace are as she wrote them.
Today, Ada Lovelace’s role in computing history is undeniable. The Google doodle above shows her writing her program with a quill pen on Google and the evolution of computer devices since the first built to present laptops and tablets.