Today is a day which should not only inspire women to an interest in computing, but a day which we should all celebrate as having a direct link to the modern world which surrounds us in 2015 – the 200th anniversary of the birth of the legendary Ada Lovelace.
Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace (1815-1852), was the English daughter of a brief marriage between the famous Romantic poet Lord Byron and Anne Isabelle Milbanke, who separated from Byron just a month after Ada was born. Four months later, Byron left England forever. Ada never met her father (who died in Greece in 1823) and was raised by her mother, Lady Byron.
Ada was a brilliant mathematician and writer, chiefly known for her work on mathematician Charles Babbage’s early mechanical general-purpose computer, the Analytical Engine. Ada met Babbage in 1833, when she was just 17, and they began an extensive correspondence on the topics of mathematics, logic, and ultimately all subjects, including his designs for the Engine. They became lifelong friends.
Her notes on the Analytical Engine include what is now recognised as the first algorithm intended to be carried out by a machine. Because of this, she is often regarded as the first computer programmer. The computer programming language, ADA, was named in her honour in 1979. Based on the language PASCAL, ADA is a general-purpose language designed to be readable and easily maintained.
The National Museum of Computing (TNMOC) is partnering BCSWomen to be a venue in the App-a-thon Guinness World Record attempt on Saturday 13 June 2015 from 10am to 4pm. The family fun day event, which is open to all, will be held at many venues across the UK. It aims to create a new world record and encourage girls to consider a career in IT. At each of the venues, participants will learn from women teachers how to build Android apps and there will be talks, activities and hands-on coding. Anyone can register now for their free place on this world record attempt, see: http://www.bcs.org/content/conEvent/9365
Jill Clarke, a TNMOC volunteer, member of BCSWomen and leader of the event at TNMOC, said: “This is a great way for everyone to learn about what goes into the making of an app, a feature of computing that most people use every day. We hope lots of people, especially families and girls from Milton Keynes and surrounding areas, will sign up to take part in the App-a-thon Guinness World Record attempt at The National Museum of Computing, the historic home of Colossus.”
Gillian Arnold, Chair of BCSWomen, said: “Within the IT profession, there is a real skills shortage in the UK that we need to address now. The BCSWomen App-a-thon event is a great way for lots of people to learn how to code at the same time, engage with those who are considering a career in IT and give every generation an opportunity to try their hand at coding. It is imperative that we encourage more women to enter the IT profession. Women and girls are massive users of technology however, they don’t realise they could be part of the profession that generates that technology. It’s a profession that women are good at. We just need to encourage more women to be part of it!”
Coming soon to a cyberspace portal near you is a great worldwide coding event which pays tribute to the spirit everyone’s favourite rubber-keyed wonder, the Sinclair Spectrum home computer, which started the home computer gaming revolution in the 1980s.
#Speccyjam is a regular world wide one week game jam, where indie game developers come together to create games with the flavour of the famous British 8-bit retro gaming legend – and the next event is on 29 August – 5 September, 2014.
Game developers may work alone or as part of a team, and can use any game engine or dev tools to create their game. It can be developed for ANY device or platform… it doesn’t matter as long as it looks and feels like a Spectrum game!
Your game doesn’t have to run on an actual Spectrum, or an emulator – It can run in whatever environment you are comfortable with, just as long as people can play it when it’s finished.