Tim O'Reilly says "it's always Ada Lovelace at O'Reilly." Well, Tim, at HASTAC Central, it is too. Since September, we've been an all-female operation at the Duke head office. Thank you, Ada.
Ada Lovelace is the symbol of women in computing. Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace, she was the daughter of the poet Lord Byron and Anne Isabella Milbanke. She was born in 1815 and, like her father (who died when she was nine) she too died young, in 1852, of uterine cancer. A writer, she worked on an early analytic machine, a mechanical computer, and is often regarded as the world's first computer programmer because she wrote an algorithm for processing by machine. Even though, at the time, this was theoretical, it was visionary, so much so that when her notes were published in the 1950s, they became an inspiration to many computer scientists. The computer language Ada was named in her honor. And Ada Lovelace Day is celebrated on March 24.
Here's a quote from Lovelace RT from Howard Rheingold, who first blogged about Ada in 1985: "We may say most aptly that the Analytical Engine weaves algebraical patterns just as the Jacquard loom weaves flowers and leaves." And here's the url for his original posting: http://www.rheingold.com/texts/tft/2.html
And the lovely folks at FindingAda are going to be posting one blog an hour in honor of Ada Lovelace day and are looking for pledges: "Ada Lovelace day is just two days away! Pledge to join in to write about a woman in technology: http://findingada.com/"
So . . . from HASTAC: Cathy, Mandy, Nancy, Fiona, Ruby, and Sheryl all send a big shout out to Ada and to all of her intellectual descendants and admirers. All of us spend a lot of our time in rooms where we are the only woman present and it is still a shock to get together for our biweekly full staff meetings and look around the table and find all females. And feminists too. In our world, we are usually in rooms as the only females present. And then, through some surprising occurrences, here we are, running HASTAC's central office as an all-female team. Well, thank you, Ada. Have a very nice day.