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Ada Byron

Ada Byron, Countess of Lovelace, was a British mathematician who lived between 1815-1852. She was a major vanguard in computer programming. Computer programming is essential for building space shuttles and satellites and in analyzing scientific data.

Byron published "Sketch of the Analytical Engine" which discussed Charles Babbage's analytical engine (later to be known as the first computer). Her work was based on the writings of the Italian mathematician Luigi Menabrea, and meetings with Babbage himself.

Byron designed the "punch-card" program which was a program that gave instructions to a computer. She also created the computer law known as GIGO (Garbage In, Garbage Out). This law basically states that a computer can use only what is put into it. In other words, a computer cannot have a mind of its own.

Because of Byron's pioneering efforts in the computer era, the U.S. Department of Defense named a computer programming language (ADA) after her in 1977.


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Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA