Software Practice Advancement Conference

SPA Conference session: Follow in Ada Lovelace's Footsteps

One-line description:Follow in Ada Lovelace's footsteps and learn to program Charles Babbage's brain child, the Analytic Engine
Session format: Long Tutorial [read about the different session types]
Abstract:Ada Lovelace can be seen as the worlds first computer programmer. Living in the 19th century she did not use a electronic computer, instead she programmed the Analytic Engine.

The Analytic Engine is the brain child of Charles Babbage, who, inspired by the mechanical looms of the industrial revolution, conjured up a machine that could do calculations on its own accord.

Even though the Analytic engine was not build in her lifetime, Ada Lovelace wrote programs for it. In this session we will follow in Ada Lovelace's footsteps and try our own hand in programming the Analytic engine.

By participating in this session you will learn how to program the Analytic Engine, you will get to know the inner workings of the machine and compare it with a modern day, digital computer and you come to appreciate the brilliance of Ada Lovelace and her work (even more).
Audience background:Experience in software development and an interest in how things work
Benefits of participating:Participants will get a detailed understanding of the Analytic Engine, how it can be programmed and what kind of algorithms were devised for it. Furthermore, participants will learn what role Ada Lovelace played in the fruition of the computer and computer programs.
Materials provided:I will provide an presentation, an emulator for the Analytic Engine and a set of guided exercises that gradually build up an understanding of how the Analytic Engine operates and is programmed.
Process:The session will start of with a presentation placing the Analytic Engine in a proper context. We will briefly go into the life of Ada Lovelace and the role she played in defining computers and computations.

Participants will then be able to work on exercises, using the provided emulator, to gain an understanding of the inner working of the Analytic Engine and how it is programmed.

The next phase will be the analysis of program(s) written by Ada Lovelace combined with an exploratory phase were one can work on predefined challenges or program the analytic engine on their own accord.
Detailed timetable:00:00 - 00:05 Welcome
00:05 - 00:45 Presentation about Analytic Engine
00:45 - 01:15 Encoding Exercises
01:15 - 01:45 Operating Analytic Engine
01:45 - 02:30 Analyzing Ada Lovelace's Programs
02:30 - 04:00 Challenges/Free Programming
04:00 - 04:30 Summary, Conclusion and Retrospective
Outputs:The emulator that is used during the session will be available to use after the session.

We can create a website to host the programs created during the session.
History:This will be the first time this session is held.
1. Daan van Berkel
2. 3.