The Two-Bit History blog discusses Ada Lovelace’s published computer program, often called the world’s first computer program. She wrote a program for a computer that had only been described to her. But. her program was never run, because the computer she was targeting was never built.
It’s the intricacies of Lovelace’s program, though, that make it so remarkable. Whether or not she ought to be known as “the first programmer,” her program was specified with a degree of rigor that far surpassed anything that came before. She thought carefully about how operations could be organized into groups that could be repeated, thereby inventing the loop. She realized how important it was to track the state of variables as they changed, introducing a notation to illustrate those changes. As a programmer myself, I’m startled to see how much of what Lovelace was doing resembles the experience of writing software today.
The article discusses history of Babbage and computing and implementation of Lovelace’s work in C and Python.
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