In the spirit of honoring this extraordinary and almost forgotten woman, the Ada Lovelace Award will be presented by Capital W to the venture capital fund that has done the most to contribute to the advancement of women in venture capital.
Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace (10 December 1815 – 27 November 1852), born Augusta Ada Byron, daughter of Lord Byron and Anna Isabella Milbanke, and now commonly known as Ada Lovelace, was an English mathematician and writer chiefly known for her work on Charles Babbage's early mechanical general-purpose computer, the Analytical Engine. Her notes on the engine include what is recognized as the first algorithm intended to be carried out by a machine and therefore was the world’s first computer programmer.
Ada’s mother promoted Ada's interest in mathematics and logic in an effort to prevent her from developing what she saw as the insanity seen in her father.
Ada described her approach as "poetical science"and herself as an "Analyst & Metaphysician". As a young adult, her mathematical talents led her to an ongoing working relationship and friendship with fellow British mathematician Charles Babbage, and in particular Babbage's work on the Analytical Engine. Between 1842 and 1843, she translated an article by Italian military engineer Luigi Menabrea on the engine, which she supplemented with an elaborate set of notes of her own, simply called Notes. These notes contain what many consider to be the first computer program—that is, an algorithm designed to be carried out by a machine. Lovelace's notes are important in the early history of computers. She also developed a vision of the capability of computers to go beyond mere calculating or number-crunching, while others, including Babbage himself, focused only on those capabilities. Her mind-set of "poetical science" led her to ask questions about the Analytical Engine (as shown in her notes) examining how individuals and society relate to technology as a collaborative tool.