Wednesday, June 18, 2008

In Our Time: Ada Lovelace

Ada Lovelace
Host: Melvyn Bragg
In Our Time

Deep in the heart of the Pentagon is a network of computers. They control the US military, the most powerful army on the planet, and are in turn controlled by a programming language called Ada.

It’s named after Ada Lovelace, the allegedly hard drinking 19th century mathematician and daughter of Lord Byron. In her work with Charles Babbage on a steam driven calculating machine, Ada understood, perhaps before anyone else, what a computer might truly be.

Ada Lovelace has been called many things - the first computer programmer and a prophet of the computer age – but most poetically perhaps by Babbage himself as an ‘enchantress of numbers’.


Patricia Fara, Senior Tutor at Clare College, Cambridge

Doron Swade, Visiting Professor in the History of Computing at Portsmouth University

John Fuegi, Visiting Professor in Biography at Kingston University

To Listen to the Episode

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