Rebooting the Ada Lovelace Mythos

I’m super excited about my keynote at the Ada Lovelace conference coming up in October. Today I wrote the draft abstract and title for the keynote and wanted to share it with all of you and get feedback. Comment away!

Rebooting the Ada Lovelace Mythos

Ada Lovelace has become an almost mythological character in the history of computing. In one story, she is Athena: the world’s first computer programmer, springing into existence fully formed a century before computers existed. In another, she is Bacchus, a delusional drug addict who was reverse-engineered into a feminist icon. But the real Ada Lovelace a complex, multifaceted person who mixed the best of science, art, and philosophy in her own life. What new stories could we tell about Lovelace that reflect the reality of her work and beliefs, and how would that change our view of the role of computing in our society?

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2 Responses to Rebooting the Ada Lovelace Mythos

  1. I’d love to find a good biography of her. I tried Benjamin Woolley’s “The bride of science : romance, reason and Byron’s daughter” but couldn’t take his prose.

    • vaurora says:

      The best one I’ve found so far is “Enchantress of Numbers” by Betty Toole. Her understanding of computing is not that great, but in general it’s well-written and mostly based on letters from Ada and her contemporaries.

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