Ada Lovelace’s 180-Year-Old Notes Previewed the Future of Computers | Technology & Science

The 180-Year-Old Endnotes That Foretold the Future of Computation.

Ada Lovelace’s wisdom about the first general-purpose computer can be found buried in the appendix of another paper.

This diagram shows an algorithm for the analytical engine for the computation of Bernoulli numbers, taken from the article Sketch of the Analytical Engine Invented by Charles Babbage, written by Luigi Menabrea with notes by Ada Lovelace.

Many fields of science can point to a foundational document: Isaac Newton’s Principia for the physics of classical mechanics or Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species for evolutionary biology. But only computer science can claim its foundational document hides in the endnotes.

Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace, better known as Ada Lovelace, was commissioned in 1842 to translate a paper about the world’s first general-purpose computer. She appended her own annotations, which ran three times longer…


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