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  • In honor of Ada Lovelace Day, we look back at last year's essay ("Changing the Face of Computing—One Stitch at a Time") by Yasmin Kafai and Jane Margolis about the legacy of the pioneering British mathematician who became the first computer programmer.<--break-> 

    As we celebrate Ada Lovelace Day, we should be reminded that one of the first computers in the nineteenth century, the “Analytical Engine,” was based on the design of the Jacquard loom, for weaving fashionable complex textiles of the times. It was fashion that inspired British mathematician Ada Lovelace to write the code for the loom that wove the complex patterns that were in vogue. She also wrote a most beautiful sentence linking computing and fashion: “We may say most aptly that the Analytical Engine weaves algebraic patterns just as the Jacquard loom weaves flowers and leaves.” And yet, the historical and intimate relationship between fashion and computer science has largely been forgotten and ignored, even as Lovelace’s pioneering spirit lives on today’s runways.

    Posted at 11:00 am on Tue, 11 Oct 2016 in computer science, engineering, math, science, technology
  • In honor of Alan Turing's 104th birthday Chris Bernhardt, author of Turing's Vision: The Birth of Computer Science, discusses the pioneer's groundbreaking research paper and how it shaped modern computing.

    On June 23, 1912, one of the founders of computer science, Alan Turing was born. He is now famous, having been portrayed on stage by Derek Jacobi and in film by Benedict Cumberbatch. He is well known for his work during the Second World War on code breaking that was pivotal in the Allied powers’ victory, and also for his test to determine whether human intelligence is distinguishable from that of machine intelligence. We all know of his arrest and prosecution for being gay, and for the chemical castration that followed, and we know of his tragic death by cyanide poisoning. But not many people outside of computer science are aware of the groundbreaking paper he published in 1936.

    Posted at 08:00 am on Thu, 23 Jun 2016 in computer science, math
  • In honor of Ada Lovelace Day, an international celebration of the achievements of women in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), Yasmin Kafai and Jane Margolis reflect on the legacy of the British mathematician, who is famously regarded as the first female computer programmer.<--break->

    Posted at 08:00 am on Tue, 13 Oct 2015 in computer science, engineering, math, science, technology

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Books, news, and ideas from MIT Press

The MIT PressLog is the official blog of MIT Press. Founded in 2005, the Log chronicles news about MIT Press authors and books. The MIT PressLog also serves as forum for our authors to discuss issues related to their books and scholarship. Views expressed by guest contributors to the blog do not necessarily represent those of MIT Press.