Below is an excerpt of GIRLS WITH DREAMS (out now!)
There are quite a few household names who’ve hailed from the technology community — many Americans are aware of Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, and Steve Jobs, because they’ve all contributed in some way to their lives. Perhaps, when they wake, they refresh Facebook on their iPhone, search for updates, and later head to their Microsoft computer to check emails. These men are all incredible technological pioneers, but who was the first? Who can be considered the very first computer programmer? The answer? Ada Lovelace.
Ada Lovelace was born Augusta Ada King-Noel, Countess of Lovelace, on December 10, 1815. An English mathematician, she was fascinated with numbers and their purposes. But she was interested in more than that. She wanted to create something bigger than herself, something that would amaze and further society.
Her father, Lord George Gordon Byron, had married her mother Anne Isabella Milbanke, and was promised a child: namely, a “glorious boy”. However, on the 10th of December, he found he had been bitterly wrong. His wife had given birth to a daughter, and the Lord was displeased, to say the least. Additionally, Ada was the only legitimate child of Lord Byron, which meant he had no direct heir.
Given that England has traditionally been a patriarchal society, this is understandable but unsettling. Soon after Ada’s birth, Lord Byron departed England, eventually perishing in the Greek War of Independence some time later. All the while, Ada’s mother tenderly supported Ada’s growing interest in logic and mathematics. Ada was a revolutionary in the making, with numbers and logic being her sword.
In her teenage years, her mathematical skills would rise exponentially, and her talents did not go unnoticed. She soon made acquaintance with Charles Babbage, a famed English mathematician interested in Ada’s advanced abilities.
Today, he’s considered the father of computers, and for good reason. In the early 1800s, he was working on his Analytical Engine — a mechanical, general-purpose computing instrument, which he deemed was fit only for number crunching and calculating. Ada, however, was skeptical. She felt that computers could do much more than simply compute values, and decided to do something about it. In a lengthy collection of notes she held concerning the Engine, Lovelace wrote the world’s first algorithm.
Essentially, she coded the first computer program! Her program calculated the Bernoulli numbers: rational numbers created from an exponential generating function. But the revolutionary part of this was computers could now be programmed to carry out a specific task, and then programmed to execute another one. They didn’t have to be built for specifically one purpose. This is the core of all programming: to solve a problem, and then another one after that. It’s never just one!
If we look to modern times, her vision has now come true. Computers are rarely used for raw calculation. In today’s age, we’re even looking into the realm of studies like artificial intelligence, where computers can simulate human thoughts and actions. In fact, there are even programs out there today which can take in chapters of a book and write a chapter for you, just following the author’s style! Plot and everything!
Today, Lovelace is famous in the world of computing. Her hardship and perseverance through all her obstacles have inspired millions to take up the science of programming. Ada Lovelace Day is celebrated annually on October 13th.
Stricter regulation, including large fines, is one option to force technology companies to take the issue of hate speech more seriously, the Mayor of London has said.
"We can't assume that tech companies will find the solutions by themselves," Sadiq Khan told the BBC.
He said companies have to be "chivvied and cajoled to take action".
On Monday, he will share examples of abuse he has personally received.
The messages will form part of his keynote speech at the South by Southwest (SXSW) festival in Austin, Texas.
Read more here.
When Christine Betts arrived at the University of Washington in 2016, she planned to study economics. After an introductory computer-science course inspired her, she changed her mind.
Betts joins growing ranks of women at influential schools entering the software field. The numbers at some colleges offer a glimmer of hope in an otherwise male-dominated industry. At Betts' school, as well as Stanford University and the University of California, Berkeley, women represent about a third of computer-science students. It's hardly gender parity, but the numbers are higher than they were five years ago.
Female enrollment at some other elite technical institutions is even more encouraging. This year, more women will graduate with computer-science degrees than men for the second time ever at Harvey Mudd College, a Southern California school whose alumni include creators of important web technologies like SQL, Flash and GitHub (all men). Maria Klawe, president of Harvey Mudd, has led an effort to recruit more women and said doing so will improve technology for everyone.
Read more here.
In partnership with Adobe, Dell EMC, Girls Who Code and Microsoft, the Utah STEM Action Center recently announced the launch of the Utah Girls Who Code Club Network at Dell EMC.
Starting in the fall 2018 school year, nearly 50 clubs will be hosted at schools, community centers, libraries and various organizations. Industry partners will sponsor and facilitate the clubs, creating a unique business and education partnership.
More than 200 girls, grades 7-12, from multiple school districts joined industry members recently to kick off the program, listening to remarks given by Lt. Gov. Spencer J. Cox and engaging in a coding activity with Reshma Saujani, CEO and founder of Girls Who Code.
Read more here.
Representation matters, and these people are ensuring the visibility of women in STEM by sharing their stories.
Chances are, if you’re asked to think of a name from STEM on the spot, that name will be a man’s. The history of women in STEM has not been given equal attention, and the same is true of the column inches, screen time and airwaves devoted to present-day innovators. But these authors, performers, creators and campaigners are making sure that women in STEM are not forgotten.
A spotlight special by Silicon Republic, this gem showcases 12 women in STEM making a difference. Give it a read!
Sheryl Sandberg, Melinda Gates and Ginni Rometty are just a few of today's biggest tech leaders who have championed getting more women involved in the traditionally male-dominated STEM field. Ahead of International Women's Day, LinkedIn revealed Tuesday that more women entered STEM over the past 40 years than any other field.
"One of the key aspects to closing the gender gap is identifying where we have made progress so we can use those areas as examples to guide us in providing more opportunities for women and tackling current day challenges related to the hiring gap," LinkedIn's senior data scientist Nick Eng tells CNBC Make It.
This fantastic article by CNBC illustrates some progress we've made over the past 40 years. Let's keep it up!
In an era when women are increasingly prominent in medicine, law, and business, why are there so few women scientists and engineers? A 2010 research report by AAUW presents compelling evidence that can help to explain this puzzle. Why So Few? Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) presents in-depth yet accessible profiles of eight key research findings that point to environmental and social barriers — including stereotypes, gender bias, and the climate of science and engineering departments in colleges and universities — that continue to block women’s progress in STEM.
Read more here.
Coding: It’s a language few of us are fluent in but all of us interact with daily. Enter Girls Who Code, a company determined to change this… starting with the ladies! Girls Who Code teaches girls the fundamental skills to code and encourages its students to take on the tech industry. It creates a community of women coders and tech professionals who inspire and mentor young girls as they choose their career paths. The tech industry has historically been male-dominated. Girls Who Code’s mission is to change that.
We often think of coding for a large company like Google to be overwhelming – and while it takes a lot of hard work, it's not anything us girls can't achieve! Here's a short video of a potential coding interview question that isn't too difficult to understand.
Fun, anecdotal video on a YouTuber's experience on how they learned how to code, and ultimately, got a job at Google! Some of you are curious on what it takes – give it a watch!