Celebrating the Life and Legacy of Ada Lovelace

ada lovelace chalon portrait

The Symposium, celebrating Ada Lovelace’s 200th birthday on 10th December 2015, is aimed at a broad audience of those interested in the history and culture of mathematics and computer science, presenting current scholarship on Lovelace’s life and work, and linking her ideas to contemporary thinking about computing, artificial intelligence and the brain. Keynote speakers include Richard Holmes, Doron Swade, Betty Toole, and Moshe Vardi.

Click here to register. The deadline for registration is Sunday 29th November at midnight.


Wednesday 9 December
From 9.30am: Coffee and registration in the Mathematical Institute, University of Oxford

11am: Session 1
Symposium Opening, Alexander Wolf, President of the ACM, Professor at Imperial College London

11.05am, Doron Swade, Royal Holloway, University of London

Charles Babbage and Ada Lovelace: two visions of computing

11.50am, Bernard Sufrin, University of Oxford

Interpreting dreams of abstract machines

12.30pm, Adrian Johnstone, Royal Holloway, University of London

Notions and notations: designing computers before computing

1pm: Lunch

1.45pm: Session 2

Chair: Vicki Hanson, Vice-President of the ACM, professor at University of Dundee and Rochester Institute of Technology

1.45pm, Ursula Martin, University of Oxford and Soren Riis, Queen Mary University of London

Ada Lovelace, a scientist in the archives

2.30pm, David De Roure, University of Oxford and Emily Howard, Royal Northern College of Music and University of Liverpool

Turning numbers into notes

3pm, John Barnes, Ada software consultant

From Byron to the Ada Programming Language

3.15pm, The National Museum of Computing,  ‘Write a letter to Ada’ competition prize

3.30pm: Break, refreshments

4pm: Session 3

Chair: Sir Drummond Bone, Master of Balliol College

4pm, Betty Toole, Author

Ada Lovelace lives forever: Ada’s four questions

4.45pm, Richard Holmes, British Academy

Will you concede me Poetical Science?

5.45pm: Break and move to Blackwell Hall, Weston Library, Bodleian Libraries

6.30pm: Reception

With Richard Ovenden, Bodley’s Librarian, and the Rt Hon the Earl of Lytton, and the world premières of two short pieces composed by James Whitbourn,  ‘An algorithmic study on ADA’ and ‘ADA’, performed by the choir Commotio, with Andrew Bernardi (violin) and  Anna Lapwood (harp),  conducted by Matthew Berry

8pm: Dinner

At Balliol College, with address by Dame Stephanie Shirley

Thursday, 10th December

9am: Session 4

Chair: Nick Woodhouse, President of the Clay Mathematics Institute

9am, June Barrow-Green, Open University

Pythagoras to pacifism: mathematics and archives

9.30am, Julia Markus, Hofstra University

The early education of Ada Byron

10am, Christopher Hollings, University of Oxford

The mathematical correspondence of Ada Lovelace and Augustus De Morgan

10.30am: Break, refreshments

11am: Session 5

Chair: Sally Shuttleworth, Professor at University of Oxford

11am, Elizabeth Bruton, Museum of the History of Science, University of Oxford

Enchantress of Numbers or a mere debugger?: a brief history of cultural and academic understandings of Ada Lovelace

11.30am, Imogen Forbes-Mcphail, University of California, Berkeley

The Analytical Engine and the Aeolian Harp

12 noon, Sydney Padua, Graphic Artist and Animator

Imaginary engines

12.45pm: Lunch

1.30pm: Session 6

Chair: Michael Wooldridge, Head of the Department of Computer Science,  University of Oxford

1.30 pm, Judith Grabiner, Pitzer College

Mathematics and culture: geometry and its ‘Figures in the Air’

2.15pm, Moshe Vardi, Rice University

‘Humans, machines, and the future of work

3pm: Break, and Ada Lovelace’s birthday cake

3.30pm: Panel

Enchantress of Abstraction, Bride of Science: must Ada Lovelace be a superheroine?

Chair: Muffy Calder, University of Glasgow

Valerie Barr, Union College and Chair ACM-W

Suw Charman-Anderson, Founder of Ada Lovelace Day

Murray Pittock, University of Glasgow

Cheryl Praeger, University of Western Australia

4.30pm: End


Ada Lovelace

Contact name: Ursula Martin
Contact email: ursula.martin@cs.ox.ac.uk
Website: Ada Lovelace, Bodleian Library
Audience: Open to all