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  • Deb Puretz

Covid Art 55: From Ada Lovelace to FaceBook: here is how


This is a larger piece, approximately 25 inches long. It holds three different six inch silicon wafer prototypes. Harvested from the trash of an early semiconductor manufacturer, it shows different attempts to print multiple layers of circuitry without any of them overheating and causing a failure.

Did you know that the concept of computing with its on/off is directly descended from early lace making machines designed by Charles Babbage? The small square from the 1899 Encyclopedia Britannica at the left describes this in part; the explanation goes on for pages. The Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California, describes Ada Lovelace’s contribution:

‘She speculated that the Engine ‘might act upon other things besides number… the Engine might compose elaborate and scientific pieces of music of any degree of complexity or extent’. The idea of a machine that could manipulate symbols in accordance with rules and that number could represent entities other than quantity mark the fundamental transition from calculation to computation. Ada was the first to explicitly articulate this notion and in this she appears to have seen further than Babbage.’

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