Ada Lovelace Birthday Party 2021

Last year in 2020 we held the Ada Lovelace Birthday Party and UC AI Conference. This year with the challenges that Covid-19 threw us, we decided to have a smaller event just celebrating Ada Lovelace, an English mathematician who wrote an algorithm for a computing machine in the mid-1800s. She has been called “the first computer programmer.”

The UC AI group members got together in the Jack Erskine building on 10 December (Ada’s birthday) for some lunch which included an Ada Lovelace inspired cake.

Ada Lovelace lived from 1815 to 1832. She was the daughter of the poet Lord Byron and Annabella Milbanke. Annabella had studied maths and Byron wanted his daughter Ada to also have an education in maths which was an unusual education for a woman at the time.

Ada met Charles Babbage in 1833 and was entranced when he showed her a working part of the Engine he had designed. In 1843 she published a translation from the French of an article on the Analytical Engine by an Italian engineer, Luigi Menabrea, to which Ada added extensive notes of her own. The Notes included the first published description of a stepwise sequence of operations for solving certain mathematical problems and Ada is often referred to as ‘the first programmer’.

Ada’s article was visionary as she could see how the Analytical Engine in the future could act upon other things than just numbers. She has been referred to as “the profit of the computer age.”