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Ada Byron's notes on the analytical engine

In 1840 Charles Babbage was invited to give a seminar at the University of Turin about his analytical engine. Luis Menabrea[?], a young Italian engineer wrote up Babbage's lecture in French they were subsequently published in in the Bibliotheque Universelle de Geneve in 1842.

Babbage asked Ada Byron (also known as Ada Lovelace) to translate Menabrea's paper into English. He then further asked Lady Ada to augment the notes she had added to the translation, and she 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 pseudonym A.A.L.).

According to Linda Talisman on [1] (http://www.cs.yale.edu/homes/tap/Files/ada-lovelace-notes) "Baum cites:

  • Perl, Teri. The Ladies Diary or Woman's Almanac, 1704-1841, Historica Mathematica 6 (1979): 36-53
  • Wallis, Ruth and Peter. Female Philomaths, Historica Mathematica 7 , (1980), 57-64
There were indeed women in mid-century England who signed their names to mathematical articles in popular journals, and there were influential periodicals, such as the Edinburgh Review, that lent intellectual women psychological support.... Although the Ladies Diary ... , the most popular of the mathematical periodicals, encouraged women to join wit with beauty, it attracted serious amateurs of both sexes... [it] was a respectable place to pose mathematical problems and sustain debate... since there were few science periodicals in England until the 1830s, technical articles often appeared in general periodicals like the Ladies Diary. It may have been something similar that originally sparked Mrs. Somerville's interest in mathematics. At a tea party one afternoon, she recalled years later, young Mary Fairfax had been given a ladies' fashion magazine that contained a puzzle, the answer to which was given in strange symbols. These symbols turned out to be algebra. And that magazine became her introduction to the world of Euclidean geometry and number.
Baum, p. 35" Submitted to [2] (http://www.cs.yale.edu/homes/tap/Files/ada-lovelace-notes) by Linda Talisman

Her notes were labelled A,B,C etc... and note G could possibly be said to be the first expression of the modern computer phrase "Garbage In, Garbage Out", She said "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."

See also : Ada Byron

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