Ada's Algorithm: How Lord Byron's Daughter Ada Lovelace Launched the Digital Age Paperback – 29 Oct 2013
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'Anyone who thinks [Lovelace's] famous contribution to computer science is overrated, should read James Essinger's new biography... This concise and readable account gives Lovelace's work the respect it deserves.' --Christine Evans-Pughe, Engineering and Technology Magazine
'Appealing.' --Andrew Robinson, BBC Focus Magazine
About the Author
James Essinger previously wrote Jacquard's Web: How a Hand-Loom Led to the Birth of the Information Age (OUP 2004), which was chosen as one of the top 5 popular science books of the year by the Economist. While doing research for this book, he became fascinated by Ada Lovelace. He was educated at Lincoln College (University of Oxford) and lives in Canterbury.
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Top Customer Reviews
Having gone through ¾ of the book and learnt nothing about Ada’s actual contribution to mathematics and computing I gave up.
having recently discovered Adults of nearly 40 who didn't know a tardis was based on a police box (or even what and why they existed) I realise technology is moving so fast that less than a generation doesn't keep up with the recent past (through no fault of their own).
This book does it all. It is fabulously well researched and the story very well told.
James Essinger manages to capture Ada's spirit as well as her genius and incorporate everything in a beautifully produced book. This is not only an excellent biography about a wonderful woman but also the best biography I read in the past few years.
Ada's Algorithm, by James Essinger, goes into minute detail, not just of Ada's life but of her parents' lives before she was born. It is, as it happens, relevant, but I did find the detail somewhat irritating. I read it on a Kindle, and it was not until I reached the 48% mark that the author started to address Ada's appreciation of what Babbage's machine might be programmed to do.
While the amount of detail earlier in the book is, I feel, an obstacle to enjoyment, the detail once we get on to Ada's relationship with the Analytical Engine is absolutely riveting.
Reading the almost line by line account of Ada's notes on the article she translated (her notes were longer than the article itself), I could really appreciate the description often applied to Ada Lovelace, that of being the world's first computer programmer.
Three thoughts struck me while reading the book:
First, a sense of outrage that in her day women were thought to be too fragile, both physically and mentally, to study maths and science.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A good read. The writer makes you feel sympathy for Ada Lovelace, she comes over as a lively, intelligent but also very nice person, much nicer than either of her parents! Read morePublished 26 days ago by Susie Bookworm
Although the author uses 'Ada' 10 times in one paragraph, I think the entire thing was impressive and helped me with my coursework.Published 5 months ago by Ian
I was disappointed with this book. The title "Ada's Algorithm" sounds technical but there is nothing technical in this book. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Alan UK
I came across this book whilst looking around the Manchester branch of Waterstones and I am very glad I did. Read morePublished 19 months ago by maggi
A great read, particularly good if like me you didn't know much about Lord Byron or Charles Babbage let alone Ada Lovelace before reading it. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Chris Howell