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In 1842, Ada Lovelace published what we now recognise as the first computer program. It was written to calculate Bernoulli Numbers on Charles Babbage's Analytical Engine, a mechanical computing device that was never built.
But Lovelace did not only understand how Babbage's machine could carry out complex computations, she also imagined that, given the right inputs it could make music or graphics. Lovelace was way ahead of her time, to the point where even Babbage couldn't see the genius of her ideas.
So who was Ada Lovelace? How did she end up making one of the most impressive theoretical leaps of the last two hundred years? And why is she such an important figure for women in computing today?
Suw Charman-Anderson talks about Lovelace and her achievements, and why she has become the figurehead of a yearly celebration of women in science, technology, engineering and maths, Ada Lovelace Day.
Presenter: Suw Charman-Anderson
Suw Charman-Anderson is the founder of Ada Lovelace Day, an international celebration of the achievements of women in science, technology, engineering and maths. She is also a social technologist and, as one of the UK’s social media pioneers, has helped clients worldwide use social tools for collaboration and communication internally and to build customer relationships externally.
A freelance journalist, she has written about social media and technology for The Guardian, CIO Magazine, .Net Magazine, Computer Weekly and FirstPost.com. She currently blogs about publishing and crowdfunding for Forbes.com.
In 2005, Suw co-founded the Open Rights Group with the aim of raising awareness of digital rights issues and campaigning against bad legislation in Britain and the EU.
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