Ada Lovelace Day #ALD10

March 24, 2010

Ok, I forgot to “pledge” about my blog posting for Ada Lovelace Day, but I’ll do it now anyway, because it’s sad that so few people today know about Ada.

Briefly, for those of you who just said “Ada who?”, Ada Lovelace was the very first programmer.  Yep, that’s right, the first programmer was a woman. Charles Babbage’s analytical engine, the very first computer, would have disappeared into obscurity, if not for this remarkable woman.


“Ada had been taught mathematics from a very young age by her mother and met Babbage in 1833. Ten years later she translated Luigi Menabrea’s memoir on Babbage’s Analytical Engine, appending notes that included a method for calculating Bernoulli numbers with the machine – the first computer programme. The calculations were never carried out, as the machine was never built. She also wrote the very first description of a computer and of software.”

Now, about the pledge.  The purpose of the pledge is “to draw attention to the achievements of women in technology and science”.  A worthy goal.

I’m going to talk about some of the resource groups for technical women.   

DevChix.  The brainchild of Desi McAdam (@desi on Twitter), I think the website says it best:  We’re an international group of female programmers working to make the tech community a better place for everyone.

LinuxChix.  LinuxChix is a community for women who like Linux and Free Software, and for women and men who want to support women in computing. The membership ranges from novices to experienced users, and includes professional and amateur programmers, system administrators and technical writers.

Systers.  Systers is the world’s largest email community of technical women in computing. It was founded by Anita Borg in 1987 as a small electronic mailing list for women in “systems”. Today, Systers broadly promotes the interests of women in the computing and technology fields.

I’m really only active on DevChix, but I’ve poked around in all of them.  And this is just a teeny-tiny subset of the available groups.  If none of these seems to fit exactly, then just jump into one of them and speak up and ask.  Nice groups, all of them.  No flames and lots of helpful answers.  Sort of what I expect from my online communities.  Technical women know community like few others. Enjoy!