This blog was written by Tom during his work experience at the Women’s Organisation. You can read more about his week here.

A woman who inspired me was Ada Lovelace, who was an English mathematician and writer. Ada created the first ever algorithm and is considered the very first computer programmer. Her father was Lord Byron who was a drunk and a poet. He wrote a poem about Ada being his only legitimate child with Lady Byron as all her siblings were born out of wedlock. After her father died in Greece when she was 8, her mum made her focus more on mathematics and logic in an effort to distance her from her father’s insanity.

Ada translated a paper by Luigi Menabrea – an Italian engineer who later became the Italian prime minister translated Professor Babbage’s lecture into French. Babbage’s friend called Charles Wheatstone asked Ada to translate it into English. Once she did this, she added notes into it which were alphabetised. She spent around a year on this project with Babbage giving tips to help her. The notes were ordered from A to G, in the last note she talked about an algorithm for the analytic engine (the engine Babbage created) to run Bernoulli numbers, which are a high-level sequence of rational numbers

The algorithm she produced was specifically tailored to work with a computer, which is why she is cited as the first computer programmer, although the engine was never completed therefore her theory wasn’t tested. More than a century after she died the analytic engine was recognised as the first ever model for a computer. Ada’s work also inspired Alan Turing, helping him to create the Turing test. Even though she was very influential in the computing world, she did not receive any awards and her findings were ignored until the 1950s. She had helped create the first computer.

I admire her because she was a pivotal figure in the advancements of technology, as well as inspiring me to do GCSE level computer science. She also has a program named after her called ADA which the US military used frequently.