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Ada, the Enchantress of Numbers: A Selection from the Letters of Lord Byron's Daughter and Her Description of the First Computer (The Pickering Masters) Hardcover – 1 Jan 1992

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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars 1 review
34 of 37 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great book 11 Jun. 2000
By Eric BERTRAND - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
A very pleasant biography in an original format, allowing for a good understanding of the main character. Typical american biography, where few details are untold, and where the author remains "transparent". We have to assume that B.A.Toole likes Ada, since she wrote a book about her, but we can't figure out why: was it beause she was Byron's daughter, or because she was Babbage's assistant, or because she lived an interesting life, or because she worked on early computers, or for any other reason... It might be a quality of good biographers, but as a French guy, I like to feel a greater intimacy between the autobiographer and the central character. A small disappointment: the lack of details regarding Ada's program for computing Bernouilli's numbers. Having computed some of those by myself, I know what an advantage it is to have at one's disposal a good algorithm to shorten fastidious calculations. In Toole's book, those numbers are barely mentioned, and the chapter 12, even though revised by an US Army colonel,doesn't explain why the Dept of Defense has chosen the ADA language. This having ben said, I took a great pleasure in reading a book which taught me a lot, even if Toole is too discreet on "an affair" that young Ada had when she was 17 years old with one of her preceptors (the great Turner?). Again the French side in me would have liked more details on that topic... Iconography is nice and all graphics are useful. All in all, a very good book to be read by all those who feel interested by an extraordinary woman who remains too little known by the general public.
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