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Who was the first programmer?

Linsie Spaans/ Daliz, Den Haag

Ada Lovelace (1815-1852) is often referred to as the first programmer. At the time in which she lived, it was very unusual for a woman to pioneer a professional field. Ada was a mathematician born in London. She came into contact with Charles Babbage, who was working on a design for a programmable calculator. It didn’t use software, of course (that hadn’t been invented yet). Instead, it had mechanical parts.

Ada described the construction of Babbage’s machine and how it worked, in great detail. So what she actually wrote was a computer program. Unlike other people at the time, she understood that a programmable calculator like that could do much more than just perform calculations. In other words, she was actually imagining some of the potential of today's computers.