Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace (originally Augusta Ada Byron) was an English mathematician who lived in the early 19th century. Despite that the time she lived in was about 150 years before the commercial home computer, she is often considered the world’s first computer programmer.
This is because of her work on Charles Babbage’s Analytical Engine (seen right). Her work includes what is recognized as the first algorithm processed by a machine. This is why she is cited as the first programmer. On top of this, Ada Byron was the daughter of the Romantic poet Lord Byron, whom you may have heard of.
Lord Byron left Ada and her mother in 1816, a month after Ada was born, and died in Greece in 1823. Though she never met her father, she clearly shared his keen mind. Lady Byron wanted her daughter to be nothing like Lord Byron, so she made sure she received extensive tutoring in math and music to counter poetic tendencies.
These only really sharpened her mind, though, because in 1828 she produced a design for a flying machine. Charles Babbage, a scientist and Cambridge professor of mathematics, became a close friend of Ada. They met when Ada was only 17, and through their lives shared discussions and notes on mathematics and logic.
In 1834, Babbage made the plans for the Analytical Engine. Between 1842 and 1843, Ada translated a French memoir on the subject and worked feverishly on the set of notes that she added to it. These notes are today what have earned her her fame. Ada died of cancer in 1852 at the age of 37 and was buried next to her father.