Ada Byron's notes on the analytical engine

Ada Byron's notes on the analytical engine are a description and associated documents produced by Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace, (born Ada Byron) on Charles Babbage's design for a mechanical computer called the analytical engine. It was never built, but Ada's notes are widely recognized as containing the first ever computer program.


In 1842 Charles Babbage was invited to give a seminar at the University of Turin about his analytical engine. Luigi Menabrea, a young Italian engineer, and future prime minister, wrote up Babbage's lecture in French, and this transcript was subsequently published in the Bibliothèque Universelle de Genève in October 1842.

Babbage asked Ada Lovelace to translate Menabrea's paper into English, subsequently requesting that she augment the notes she had added to the translation. Ada spent most of a year doing this. These notes, which are more extensive than Menabrea's paper, were then published in "The Ladies Diary" and "Taylor's Scientific Memoirs" under the initialism "A.A.L.".


Her notes were labeled alphabetically from A to G. Note G is the longest of the seven. In note G, Ada describes an algorithm for the analytical engine to compute Bernoulli numbers. It is generally considered the first algorithm ever specifically tailored for implementation on a computer, and for this reason she is considered by many to be the first computer programmer.

Note G could possibly also be said to be the first expression of the modern computer phrase "Garbage In, Garbage Out". Lovelace wrote

"The Analytical Engine has no pretensions whatever to originate anything. It can do whatever we know how to order it to perform. It can follow analysis; but it has no power of anticipating any analytical relations or truths."

External links

* [ "Sketch of The Analytical Engine Invented by Charles Babbage" by L. F. Menabrea with notes upon the Memoir by the translator Ada Augusta, Countess of Lovelace]
* [ "Ada Lovelace's Notes and The Ladies Diary"]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Ada Lovelace — Infobox Scientist name = Ada Lovelace image size =200px birth date = December 10, 1815 birth place = London death date = November 27, 1852 death place = Marylebone nationality = England field = mathematics influenced =Augusta Ada King, Countess… …   Wikipedia

  • Ada Lovelace — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Ada et Lovelace. Ada Lovelace …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Byron , Augusta Ada — Byron , Augusta Ada, Countess of Lovelace (1815–1852) British computer pioneer Ada Lovelace was the daughter of Annabella Millbanke and the poet Lord Byron. Ada s mother left her husband after a month of marriage and Ada never saw her father.… …   Scientists

  • Software bug — To report a MediaWiki error on Wikipedia, see Wikipedia:Bug reports. A software bug is the common term used to describe an error, flaw, mistake, failure, or fault in a computer program or system that produces an incorrect or unexpected result, or …   Wikipedia

  • Programmer — For other uses, see Programmer (disambiguation). Coder redirects here. For other uses, see encoder. A programmer, computer programmer or coder is someone who writes computer software. The term computer programmer can refer to a specialist in one… …   Wikipedia

  • List of firsts — This is a list of the first man/woman/object etc., to do something or the first occurrence of an event.GovernmentLaws and Constitution*First law written in cuneiform by Urukagina 2350 BC *First written Constitution the oldest modern, national,… …   Wikipedia

  • List of computability and complexity topics — This is a list of computability and complexity topics, by Wikipedia page. Computability theory is the part of the theory of computation that deals with what can be computed, in principle. Computational complexity theory deals with how hard… …   Wikipedia

  • Optimization (computer science) — In computing, optimization is the process of modifying a system to make some aspect of it work more efficiently or use fewer resources. For instance, a computer program may be optimized so that it executes more rapidly, or is capable of operating …   Wikipedia

  • Program optimization — For algorithms to solve other optimization problems, see Optimization (mathematics). In computer science, program optimization or software optimization is the process of modifying a software system to make some aspect of it work more efficiently… …   Wikipedia

  • Lovelace — /ˈlʌvleɪs/ (say luvlays) noun (Augusta) Ada, Countess of, 1815–52, English writer, mathematician and socialite, daughter of Lord Byron; played a role in the development of computers through her annotation of an article on the analytical engine of …   Australian English dictionary

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”