A Woman’s Story – Ada Lovelace

(5 minutes of reading time) Author: Juliana Müller - beecrowd On March 8th we celebrate the International Women's Day. Did you know that the first programmer was a woman? Yea! Ada Lovelace was a woman far ahead of her time. She overcame prejudice and was the first person to program a computer

A Woman’s Story – Ada Lovelace

Author: Juliana Müller – beecrowd

(5 minutes of reading time)

On December 10th, 1815, the only legitimate child of the famous poet Lord Byron and Anne Isabella Byron was born in London. She was called Augusta Ada Byron King, Countess of Lovelace and, later, known as Ada Lovelace.

Ada Lovelace

Ada's parents got divorced just a month after their daughter's birth and Lord Byron left the country, leaving his daughter forever. Only on his deathbed, Lord Byron, in a moment of lucidity, regretted for not having a relationship of affection with his daughter Ada.

The mother, a great student of mathematics, and fearful that her daughter would show the same insanity traits as her father, after noticing her daughter's interest in numbers, encouraged Ada's to study mathematics and logic from an early age, which was quite unusual for women at that time.

The girl's talent with numbers did not take long to get noticed and, still young, at the age of 27, Ada began her professional relationship with the scientist, mathematician and philosopher Charles Babbage, the inventor of the analytical engine.


Babbage’s analytical engine

In 1842 Charles Babbage gave a seminar on his analytical engine at the University of Turin. The lecture was published in French by other scholars and, Babbage, Ada's mentor, asked her to translate the content into English.

The task took almost a year to complete, and the translation was much longer than the original as, while translating, the Countess of Lovelace added notes and observations of her own.

Among the observations written by Ada, there was an algorithm for the analytical engine to compute the Bernoulli Sequence (a finite or infinite sequence of binary random variables). This was then considered the first computer program ever created.

At the time, during the industrial revolution, the study was published, and Ada was even praised, but only 100+ years later, the material was republished, and the analytical engine was recognized as the first computer, and Ada's notes were recognized as the description of a computer software.


Thus, Ada - a woman - was the first person to use an algorithm program and to become aware of the importance of algorithms in building software. Therefore, many of the technological evolutions that came after Ada's studies were only possible because of her discoveries.

Even though the computer world seems to be dominated by men, and in fact it still is to this day, if you can read this text on your computer, notebook, or smartphone, know that if it weren't for a woman, this might not be possible.

Its importance in the world of technology is such that, since 2009, the Ada Lovelace Day has been celebrated on the second Tuesday of October, which is a way of encouraging other women to enter the world of technology.

Ada was a woman far ahead of her time. In addition to tirelessly investing in her mathematical studies, she liked to drink and gamble, which was quite unusual for women at the time.


In addition to Ada's tireless mother, who was one of her biggest supporters, at age of 17 she was introduced to Mary Somerville, a science writer and the first woman to join the Royal Astronomy Society. It was Mary who showed Ada the major studies that were being produced by several mathematicians of that time. It was also through Mary that Ada was introduced to Charles Babbage, her mentor that played an important role in her trajectory.

These facts confirm something we already know that sisterhood, that is, constant empathy, support, and solidarity among women, plays a fundamental and direct role in the development and success of another women.

Women who support each other are more successful and are more aware of the positive impact of the collective, they know that they can make mistakes and that this is not a problem, but part of the way to achieve success.

Ada married, had two daughters, and died quite young at age 36 of uterine cancer, but her legacy and contribution to computer science are immortal. May we always remember the importance and relevance of women to the world of technology!

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Author: Juliana Müller is the Chief Corporate and Legal Officer at beecrowd. She holds a degree in Legal and Social Sciences from Mackenzie University and a master’s degree in Commercial Contract Legislation from PUC-SP, Brazil. Juliana has 20+ years of experience in legal departments and corporate process improvement in global companies.

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