Ada Lovelace Day, observed on October 13th, celebrates the achievements of women in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). The holiday is about sharing stories of women – computer technologists, engineers, scientists, and mathematicians – who have been inspirational in their fields. The aim of the holiday is to create and encourage new role models for girls in these male-dominated fields by acknowledging the many and varied contributions of women in STEM.
Why is it named after Ada Lovelace? Ada Lovelace (1815-1852) is widely known for writing an algorithm to calculate Bernoulli numbers for Charles Babbage’s Analytical Engine, an early computer that used punch cards for input and output. This algorithm is widely considered to be the first ever computer program, making Ada Lovelace the world’s first computer programmer.
Here are some other interesting facts about Ada Lovelace:
- She was the daughter of poet Lord Byron
- Her actual married name was Lady Ada King, Countess of Lovelace
- Charles Babbage called her “The Enchantress of Numbers”
- She was a visionary and predicted that machines like the Analytical Engine could be used to compose music, produce graphics, and be useful for scientific calculations
- There is a programming language called Ada, named in her honor
- Lovelace’s notes on the Analytical Engine inspired Alan Turing’s work on the first modern computers in the 1940s
Feel free to share stories of women in STEM fields who have inspired you in the comments!