Monday's Google Doodle pays homage to Ada Lovelace, the world's first computer programmer, on what would have been her 197th birthday.
Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace -- often shortened to Ada Lovelace, was born in 1815, the daughter of British poet, Lord Byron. Her father's work in the Romantic movement had little influence on Lovelace, though, who grew up to become a mathematician.
Lovelace became interested in the work of Charles Babbage, who crafted the idea for the mechanical calculating machine, otherwise known as the early computer. Babbage, however, couldn't bring his creations, the Difference Engine and Analytical Engine, to life.
At the age of 17, Lovelace went on to explain Babbage's design for the Analytical Engine, documenting an algorithm to calculate Bernoulli numbers. After that, she was named the "first computer programmer" in history despite the machine she programmed not being fully built until 2002. In her research, Lovelace also discovered the Analytical Engine could someday be used to create music.
"While Babbage saw it as a mathematical calculator, Ada understood it had much more potential. She realised it was, in essence, a machine that could manipulate symbols in accordance with defined rules, and—crucially—that there was no reason the symbols had to represent only numbers and equations," Google noted in its Doodle blog post, using Lovelace's own words.
“Supposing, for instance, that the fundamental relations of pitched sounds in the science of harmony and of musical composition were susceptible of such expression and adaptations, the engine might compose elaborate and scientific pieces of music of any degree of complexity or extent," Lovelace wrote in 1843.
Google chose to highlight Lovelace's work on her birthday, 160 years after her death, to highlight the work of women in computing.
"Ada's experience is sadly all too familiar. Too often, the contributions of women in science and technology are left untold, and to fade from view. While Ada’s story has been rediscovered, many others remain little known," Google wrote.
The Google Doodle highlights the importance of Ada Lovelace Day, which serves to profile women in science, technology, mathematics and engineering.