Who Was The First Programmer?
Posted by vincekool
Last Updated: March 11, 2012

According to historical accounts, Augusta Ada Byron (1815-1851), the Countess of Lovelace and the daughter of English poet Lord Byron, was the first computer programmer. She wrote a program for Charles Babbage's (1792-1871) proposed "analytical engine," a computer prototype that was technologically ahead of its time and which, consequently, could not be constructed. Her work with Babbage and the essays she wrote about the possibilities of the "engine" established her as a "patron saint" of the art and science of programming. The programming language called "Ada" was named in her honor by the United States Department of Defense.

The first programmer of modern times was Grace Murray Hopper (1906-1992) of the United States Navy. She wrote a program for the Mark I computer. The Mark I was the first programmable, digital computer in the United States and the first to yield accurate results. It was capable of a range of mathematical calculations and data organization. Completed in 1943, the Mark I was used by the U.S. military for 15 years.

Sources: Jespersen, James. RAMS, ROMS, and Robots, p. 59; Rheingold, Howard. Tools for Thought, p. 31; Rochester, jack B. The Naked Computer, pp. 43, 45.

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