Saturday, November 14, 2015

Ada's Algorithm (by James Essinger)

It is a season for biographies and am glad I picked this one at EWR couple of weeks back. 

Starts off on a rather slow note. Although chronicling the history of the famous Byron title was in order, the details of debauchery committed by Lord Byron were not too central to the theme. The book sets the context by including the references to the earlier generations of British and Science Historians who may not have been too kind to Ada's contributions. Sexism being one of their flaws. 

A fleeting mention of British aristocracy and its social calendar is reminiscent of Downton Abbey. At the core of the book however, is a collection of Ada Lovelace's notes (titled Notes G) that she wrote to Charles Babbage which can singularly can be termed as first whitepaper on a proto-computer. For some of us unfortunate ones who are familiar with concepts of basic software engineering - these notes will appear as abstraction of modern definitions used for data processing and computing. 

Worth a read in the run up to holidays. 

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