Who Was Ada Lovelace?

Posted on March 25, 2018

A  M U L T I - D I M E N S I O N A L  M I N D

Portrait of Ada Lovelace

The SK Ada Collection pays homage to a brilliant, often un-credited mind in the fields of computer engineering, mathematics, science, and geometry: Ada Lovelace. So who is this Lovelace character, and why was she such a major source of inspiration for our newest collection? Read on! 

Around the age of seventeen, Ada Lovelace met mathematician and inventor, Charles Babbage. The pair quickly became friends. Babbage served as a mentor to Ada. She was fascinated by Babbage's ideas: he’s considered to be the father of the computer and even invented the difference engine, which was intended to perform mathematical calculations.

The Analytical Machine

Ada was able to see the creation of the machine before it was finished, and was in his circle helping him as he created plans for a device known as the analytical engine (thought to be one of the first computers), which was designed to handle more complex calculations.

With his mentorship, Ada began studying advanced mathematics with University of London professor Augustus de Morgan. Later in life, Ada was asked to translate an article on Babbage's analytical engine—which she did, from French text into English, and also added her own thoughts and ideas on the machine. Her excellent notes ended up being three times longer than the original article! In them, Ada described how codes could be created in order for the device to handle letters and symbols, along with numbers. She also theorized a method that would allow for the analytical engine to repeat series’ of instructions—a process referred to as ‘looping,’ that computer programs still use today.

Map of the Analytical Engine

Needless to say, she went above and beyond;  in recognition of her innovative work on the text, Ada is often considered to be the first computer programmer. Ada’s thoughts were published 1843 in an English science journal—but she remained unknown: Ada used only the initials "A.A.L.," standing for her full name Augusta Ada Lovelace, in the publication. Sadly, her contributions to the field of computer science were not discovered until the 1950s when they were re-published in ’53 the book ‘Faster Than Thought: A Symposium on Digital Computing Machines.’ Since then, Ada has received many posthumous honors for her work.

Sketch of the Analytical Machine

Ada was a visionary. Her insight broke new ground in computing, as she had identifies an entirely new concept. She realized that the analytical engine could go beyond numbers—that it could contribute to other human endeavors, like  composing music. She realized that anything that could be converted into numbers: music, language and the alphabet, and even images could then be manipulated by computer algorithms. The machine was invented for mathematics, but could do so much more. 


In 1980 the U.S. Department of Defense named a newly developed computer language "Ada," after Lovelace, and here we are, in 2018, inspired beyond the galaxy by her work. In honor of Lovelace, the SK Ada Collection puts into matter the concept of nature (diamonds!) and mathematics and geometry (baguette and carré cuts! Channel-setting!) To learn more about the SK Ada Collection and our inspiration, click here. To learn more about how, exactly, the newest constellation in the SK Galaxy incorporates mathematics, science, and geometry, click here.

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