Ada's Algorithm: Book summary and reviews of Ada's Algorithm by James Essinger

Ada's Algorithm

How Lord Byron's Daughter Ada Lovelace Launched the Digital Age

by James Essinger

Ada's Algorithm by James Essinger X
Ada's Algorithm by James Essinger
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Book Summary

Over 150 years after her death, a widely-used scientific computer program was named "Ada," after Ada Lovelace, the only legitimate daughter of the eighteenth century's version of a rock star, Lord Byron. Why?

Because, after computer pioneers such as Alan Turing began to rediscover her, it slowly became apparent that she had been a key but overlooked figure in the invention of the computer.

In Ada Lovelace, James Essinger makes the case that the computer age could have started two centuries ago if Lovelace's contemporaries had recognized her research and fully grasped its implications.

It's a remarkable tale, starting with the outrageous behavior of her father, which made Ada instantly famous upon birth. Ada would go on to overcome numerous obstacles to obtain a level of education typically forbidden to women of her day. She would eventually join forces with Charles Babbage, generally credited with inventing the computer, although as Essinger makes clear, Babbage couldn't have done it without Lovelace. Indeed, Lovelace wrote what is today considered the world's first computer program - despite opposition that the principles of science were "beyond the strength of a woman's physical power of application."

Based on ten years of research and filled with fascinating characters and observations of the period, not to mention numerous illustrations, Essinger tells Ada's fascinating story in unprecedented detail to absorbing and inspiring effect.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Essinger's tome is undergirded by academic research, but it is the author's prose, both graceful and confident, that will draw in a general readership." - Publishers Weekly

"Essinger tells his story with passion and with a gracious willingness to help the lay reader grasp the intricacies of technology." - Wall Street Journal

"Entertaining and illuminating." - Times Literary Supplement

"Essinger displays not only verve and affection... but also great scholarship." - Times Educational Supplement

This information about Ada's Algorithm was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

James Essinger

James Essinger is a writer with a particular interest in the history of ideas that have had a practical impact on the modern world. His previous book, Jacquard's Web: How a Hand-Loom Led to the Birth of the Information Age , was chosen as one of the top 5 popular science books of the year by the Economist.

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