6 Aug 2015

The incredible tale of Lord Byron's daughter and a steam driven computer!

From Nine To Noon, 10:05 am on 6 August 2015

Lord Byron's daughter, Ada Lovelace, (Augusta Ada Byron King, Countess of Lovelace)  is widely regarded as the world's first computer programmer - which she did in the 1840s, about 150 years before the commercial home computer even existed.

This is because of her work, with Charles Babbage, a mathematician, engineer and inventor who designed an adding machine, named the Difference Engine, and a computer called the Analytical Engine, which she wrote the algorithm for.

She met him in 1833 when she was just 18, and he was in his late forties. But it wasn't until 1840 that Babbage started to take her seriously. Incredibly, she made the leap that his machine could be used to 'manipulate' information.

Lovelace, was enormously gifted, partially because of her 'boys education'. She was raised by mathematicians and wasn't even allowed to be told stories because her mother Lady Byron didn't want her to be inflicted with the same disease as her poet father, Lord Byron.

Sadly Lovelace died, aged just 36, before her true potential could come to fruition, and so the fabled steam driven Analytical Engine was never built....... until now.

Thanks to Sydney Padua's Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage, their contributions to the world of science have been reborn in a madcap, crime fighting, Victorian caper joined by a host of unlikely celebrities, including Queen Victoria, herself.

Sydney Padua spoke to Nine to Noon's Kathryn Ryan and says the idea for her graphic novel began as a joke in a pub

Today Ada Lovelace is also remembered through Ada Lovelace Day, which is an annual celebration of women in science and technology.

Also the 'Ada' programming language for military computer systems, developed by a French computer scientist in the 1970s carries her name. Today it is widely used in "safety critical" settings: in the military, in banks and nuclear power plants, in medical devices and air traffic control.