Ada Byron Lovelace, urban myth?
The story of poet Lord Byron's daughter, purported to be the world's first computer programmer, is central to modern tech lore. Now however, her story is under attack.
Augusta Ada Byron King, Countess of Lovelace, is credited with inventing the punch-card programming system for Charles Babbage's Analytical Engine but a new book argues otherwise. Another author, writing in the New Yorker, says that Lovelace had little understanding of simple algebra and none of trigonometry or calculus. Further, both writers characterize her as a hysteria-prone and often opium-addled compulsive gambler and tart who embraced mesmerism and phrenology. Others take an opposing view in this historical debate with political overtones.
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