Ada Augusta (1816-52), Countess of Lovelace and daughter of the poet George Byron, was a mathematician who began to assist computer pioneer Charles Babbage after translating Menabrea's work on Babbage's Analytic Engine. "Her software runs on his hardware to this day" - Sadie Plant, "Weaving Women and Cybernetics", in Body & Society Vol 1, Nos 3-4, November 1995, p53. Plant adds that at Babbage's suggestion, Ada later provided footnotes on Menabrea's work which were so detailed that they were three times as long as the text itself.
Footnotes have often been the marginal zones occupied
by women writers . . . Translation, transcription and elaboration: never
within the body of the text, women have nevertheless woven their influence
between the lines. While Ada's writing was presented in this form and signed
simply "A.A.L.", hers was the name which survived in this unprecedented
. . . today her name shouts from the spines of a thousand manuals. Indeed, as is rarely the case, it really was her own name which survived in Ada's case, neither her initials, nor even the names of her husband or father. It is Ada herself who lives on, in her own name; her footnotes secreted in the software of the US military machine. (pp63-4)
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