Monday, 10 December 2012

Ada Lovelace

Today's doodle by UK tax dodger Google celebrates the 197th birthday of Ada Lovelace. She sounds like a porn queen with that name. Born Augusta Ada Byron, the only legitimate child of the poet Lord Byron and his wife Anne, she was an English mathematician who worked on Charles Babbage's early mechanical computer the Analytical Engine. Her notes on the engine include what is recognised as the first algorithm intended to be processed by a machine. So she is credited with being the world's first computer programmer (CLICK). Margaret Sarah Carpenter's fine portrait Augusta Ada Byron (1836) was painted to celebrate her marriage to William King, a baron, who became Earl of Lovelace two years later. So Ada became The Right Honourable the Countess of Lovelace. Hence her modern name. In her stately gown she doesn't look nerdy enough to be a computer programmer. No spectacles. No beard. No jeans. No T-shirt with a silly slogan on the front. This beautiful oil painting belongs to the British Government Art Collection and is currently in 10 Downing Street. So you need to be one of David's old Etonian chums or a corrupt media mogul to view it in all its glory.


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