|Honored by:||The Computer Science Department|
|Brick location:||PAVER:22 map|
Countess of Lovelace 1815-1853
Mathematician Ada Lovelace, daughter of poet Lord Byron, is the first woman in recorded history to make a substantial contribution to the computer field. Her achievements lay buried until the late 1950s when the modern era of computers stimulated an interest in their history, and her name began to appear in print. Because of her understanding of Charles Babbage' work, Ada was instrumental in the funding mental support and, most importantly, the documentation of Babbage's Analytical Engine. Without her diagrams, notes, and descriptions, Babbage's work would likely have been destined for obscurity.
Of major interest, in her notes is the description of the repeated use of a set of cards with a purpose similar to that of subroutines in today's computer programs. She is also recognized for her ideas on conditional loops. She has often been referred to as the "first computer programmer". In a society where women were not encouraged to show any tendancies of intelligence, she not only defied society but was a voice heard and accepted by the male scientific community. The modern programming language Ada in wide use by the Department of Defense is named in her honor.