You wouldn't be reading this story if it weren't for Ada Lovelace, a pioneering computer programmer who played an important role in creating the computers we use today.
Remembered Monday, the 197th anniversary of her birthday, with a customized Google Doodle — among the highest honors in geekdom — Lovelace, born in 1815, was a fascinating historical character and a true technological pioneer.
The daughter of legendary English poet Lord Byron — whom she never actually met — Lovelace (born Ava Gordon) showed an early fondness for mathematics and science, considered to be unorthodox interests for a girl of her generation, says the San Diego Supercomputer Center.
Her mother cultivated her aptitude for mathematics, wishing her to be nothing like her artsy (and irresponsible) father.
Lovelace responded with aptitude, creating her own flying machine at a tender age, and receiving tutoring and advice from Charles Babbage, the inventor of the Difference and Analytical Engines, and a mathematics professor at Cambridge.
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Eventually dubbed the Countess of Lovelace, she married William King at the age of 19 and had three children, but never ceased studying mathematics and technology. Sadly, she died of cancer at only 36.
Lovelace's enduring fame comes partially from her work with Babbage on a new sort of device called an "Analytical Machine," which she claimed would be suited for ""developing [sic] and tabulating any function whatever ... the engine [is] the material expression of any indefinite function of any degree of generality and complexity."
Babbage asked Lovelace to expand his article on the Analytical Machine concept, after she translated Luigi Menabrea's examination of the concept from the Italian.
She obliged and expanded upon Babbage's ideas. Her notes on the Analytical Machine include what some consider to be the world's first computer programs (otherwise known as algorithms), paving the way for the increasingly sophisticated programming that was to follow.
Her notes helped inspire Alan Turing, the pioneer of the first modern computers, says FindingAda.com.
Lovelace remains a true inspiration for female scientists and technology experts. Ada Lovelace Day is now celebrated by tech-minded women (and their supporters) annually, with the intent of "sharing stories of women — whether engineers, scientists, technologists or mathematicians — who have inspired you to become who you are today," according to the holiday promoters website, FindingAda.com.