Calculating Ada: The Countess of Computing

Calculating Ada: The Countess of Computing

Wed, 03/22/2017 - 10:00pm

Pictured: Host Hannah Fry

Credit: APT

In Calculating Ada:The Countess of Computing, Dr. Hannah Fry (The Mathematics of Love) explores the short yet remarkable life of Ada Lovelace, a Victorian-era British socialite and one of the world’s earliest computer pioneers. It airs Wednesday, March 22, 2017 at 10 p.m. on WXXI-TV, and repeats Saturday, March 25 at 4 p.m.

Born in December 1815, during her own lifetime Lovelace was perhaps best known as the estranged daughter of the infamous Romantic poet Lord Byron. Ada’s parents separated when she was less than a year old, and Lord Byron never saw his daughter again before his death in 1824. Despite a difficult childhood plagued by familial strife and numerous illnesses, Lovelace became both an imaginative writer and a talented mathematician, calling herself an “Analyst (and Metaphysician).” In 1833, she forged a friendship with the Charles Babbage, or the “father of computers,” and her extensive notes on his proposed “Analytical Engine” are considered to be the first computer program ever written. She understood the far-reaching potential of computers better than even Babbage himself, and her visionary ideas predicted the rise of the digital age more than a century before it became a reality. Releasing on public television stations nationwide beginning January 1, 2017, Calculating Ada: The Countess of Computing explores how Ada's unique poetic imagination and grasp of rational logic made her the ideal prophet for the future of technology.

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