Ada and the First Computer; May 1999; Scientific American Magazine; by Kim, Toole; 6 Page(s)
People called Augusta Ada King's father "mad and bad" for his wild ways, but he was better known as Lord Byron, the poet. Ada inherited her famous father's way with words and his zest for life. She was a beautiful, flirtatious woman who hobnobbed with England's elite and who died at the youthful age of 36, the same age at which her father died. And like Byron, Ada is best known for something she wrote.
In 1843 she published an influential set of notes that described Charles Babbage's Analytical Engine, the first automatic, general-purpose computing machine ever designed. Although the Analytical Engine was never built¿largely because Babbage could not raise the funds for its construction¿Ada's notes included a program for using it to compute a series of figures called Bernoulli numbers [see box on page 78].