Ada Lovelace Day is observed on October 13 to honor the contributions of women to the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The event, which was initiated in 2009 to honor women in science, raises awareness for initiatives that encourage women and girls to pursue careers in STEM fields.
Ada Lovelace, the progeny of Lord Byron, gained notoriety for being the initial individual to discern the capabilities of primitive computing systems through the publication of an algorithm. Lovelace foresaw the advent of the modern era of computing by recognizing that computers were capable of performing operations beyond basic number crunching, thus paving the way for the development of complex functions.
The background of ADA Lovelace Day
Ada Lovelace, who was born in 1815, was the progeny of the renowned Romantic poet Lord Byron. Ada was fortunate enough to pursue her scientific and mathematical education due to her privileged upbringing, which was not commonplace for girls and women during that era. The young lady’s intellectual prowess was guided by Charles Babbage, the legendary inventor of the mechanical calculator. Her collaboration with Babbage resulted in the publication of the first algorithm in 1843.
While not personally observing its implementation in action during her lifetime, Lovelace’s annotations and commentary on her translation of Babbage’s Analytical Engine description are now generally regarded as the origins of the first algorithm. Prior to the widespread adoption of computers by over a century, her theories postulated that computers were capable of performing computations beyond their most fundamental capabilities. Appropriately named the “Enchantress of Numbers,” Babbage referred to her as the first computer programmer in the world. Regrettably, Lovelace succumbed to uterine cancer at the tender age of 36.
Suw Charman-Anderson, a technologist, established Ada Lovelace Day in 2009 to honor this groundbreaking female scientist and to promote the accomplishments of women in STEM fields. Despite comprising over half of all undergraduate college graduates in the United States, women comprise less than a quarter of those who pursue degrees in STEM disciplines.
STEM education proponents contend that the study of sciences and mathematics expands the career opportunities of women and contributes to the advancement of science by incorporating diverse viewpoints. Ada Lovelace Day honors educators, researchers, technicians, advocates, and others who advocate for the significance of science and mathematics in order to promote STEM education.
FACTS OF INTEREST REGARDING EARLY COMPUTERS
ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer), which was constructed in 1945 and occupied 1,800 square feet, was utilized for military calculations until 1955.
Wood was used to construct the first computer mouse, which Doug Engelbart invented in 1964.
The initial gigabyte drive was published in 1980 for $40,000 and had a weight of 550 pounds.
Joseph Marie Jacquard introduced a mechanism in 1801 whereby fabric patterns were “programmed” into a loom via wooden punch cards.
The memory of Charles Babbage’s Analytical Engine was 1,000 forty-digit integers. It is currently not uncommon to carry a terabyte of data on a pocket-sized flash drive, which is equivalent to carrying 75 million printed pages.
ADA LOVELACE DAY DATES