Ada Lovelace Day
Augusta Ada King, countess of Lovelace and the only child of Lord Byron, is widely considered the first computer programmer. This is because she created the algorithms for Charles Babbage’s Analytical Engine, thereby creating the first input designed for a computer. Babbage’s general purpose computer was never built because of a lack of support in the nearly non-existent field, as well as Parliament’s inability to assess its value. However, Ada’s contribution involving Bernoulli’s numbers (many of the variables and equations surrounding integration and sines/cosines/tangents) was still an important first step in computer programming. She proposed that computers could move beyond simple math to complex equations on the scale of music. She died, however, at only age 36 on 27 November 1852 of cancer and bloodletting.
The first Ada Lovelace day took place on 24 March 2009. Nearly 2000 people signed the pledge of appreciation for women and technology, and another 2000 on Facebook. 1200 people contributed to a mash-up by linking project URLs. The day was covered by many media outlets, including BBC, The Guardian, and hundreds of blogs.