Google is running a homepage doodle honoring Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace (otherwise known as Ada Lovelace).
Google doesn’t talk that much about all of its doodle subjects, but Ada Lovelace got a blog post on the Official Google Blog today, which honors her as a “computing’s 1843 visionary”.
“Last year, a group of us were lucky enough to visit the U.K. Prime Minister’s residence at 10 Downing Street, as part of the Silicon Valley Comes to the U.K. initiative,” write Google’s Megan Smith and Lynette Webb. “While there, we asked about some of the paintings on the wall. When we got to a large portrait of a regally dressed woman, our host said “and of course, that’s Lady Lovelace.” So much of world history leaves out or minimizes the contributions of women, and so “of course” most of us had no idea who she was. You can imagine our surprise when we learned she was considered by some to be the world’s first computer programmer—having published the first algorithm intended for use on Charles Babbage’s Analytical Engine.”
Among other things, the Countess is credited (along with Charles Babbage) with preparing the world’s first published algorithm (in 1843).
Today is her birthday, hence the doodle. She died in 1852. Read Google’s post for a short history lesson about her. You can also find her in Google’s Knowledge Graph, with a simple search for “Ada Lovelace,” or of course by clicking on the doodle from Google’s homepage.
Portrait painted by Margaret Carpenter in 1836, from the U.K. Government Art Collection.