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Was Ada Lovelace the first computer programmer? | May 24, 2010

 
Jonathan Strickland

Yeah. Ada herself received a wonderful, wonderful title given to her by Charles Babbage, whom we’ll discuss at length in a little bit. It was the Enchantress of Numbers
, which I think is an amazing, amazing phrase, and very fitting as well.

So Ada grows up with some of the best tutors that you can imagine during this time. She studies mathematics and is absolutely fascinated with them, the subject of mathematics, and is incredibly adept, an amazing student. In fact, the more we researched Ada, the more I realized she was phenomenally more intelligent than I am. I can’t even really compare.

She was able to understand algorithms that completely baffle me, and was able to study them in a way that she found fascinating. I find them perplexing and maddening. She found it as having its own kind of poetry.

In a way, you think about it, this kind of makes sense. When you really look at algorithms, we’re talking about things like number theory and how the universe sort of works and how things fit together. We express this more often than not through mathematic equations, and algorithms, and things of that nature. She was able to see that kind of stuff. I can understand the underlying concept, but when you get beyond that, I feel like I’m a fish out of water.

Chris Pollette

I understand. Let’s see. Somebody else who was fascinated with her would be William King.

Jonathan Strickland

Yes. He was so fascinated with her that he married her.

Chris Pollette

The first William King, who was her tutor – I find this interesting.

Jonathan Strickland

Oh, you mean the two different William Kings.

Chris Pollette

No, actually I did mean her future husband, but it was really funny. It confused me for a second when I was doing the research. I said, “William King was her tutor?” Then as it turns out, there was a William King – not the one she married – who was her tutor who was apparently immediately feeling out of his depth as he talked to her. He realized she had a much more innate grasp of mathematics than he did. He actually bowed out very quickly. He was one of the many.

Less than a year later, apparently, Ada married the other William King, who was the 8th Baron King and was an Earl. He was made an Earl in 1938.

Jonathan Strickland

You mean 1838?

Chris Pollette

1838. Did I say 1938?

Jonathan Strickland

Yeah.

Chris Pollette

Dude. Sorry.

Jonathan Strickland

That’s all right.

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