Ada Lovelace Competition

Teenage girls with an interest in computing were invited to enter a competition to mark the 200th anniversary of the birth of Ada Lovelace, generally regarded as the first 'computer' programmer.

Results are in!

The competition is run by TNMOC and the University of Oxford in conjunction with cs4fn at Queen Mary University of London, and asked girls:

What do you think would interest Ada Lovelace about 21st century technology?

Who was Ada Lovelace?

Born in 1815, Lovelace was educated in science and mathematics – highly unusual for females of her era. A remarkable thinker, she went on to become the author of an historic paper about Charles Babbage’s designs for a nineteenth century computer, which contained what many think of as the first ever computer program.

On 13 October 2015, International Ada Lovelace Day will celebrate Ada’s achievements and those of all women in science, technology, engineering and maths. Read more about Ada’s extraordinary life.

About the Ada Lovelace Competition

The 2015 Ada Lovelace Competition was open to individual females and groups of females in three age categories: under 13, 13-15 and 16-18.

The competition asked: What do you think would interest Ada Lovelace about 21st century technology?

Entrants must show or tell what they think would fascinate Ada Lovelace about the technology of today (remembering of course that words like smartphone would mean nothing to her).

How to enter

Full details on how to enter the 2015 Ada Lovelace Competition here.

The closing date was 14 October 2015. (Extended by one day because of email overload! If problems persist please email to

Get thinking!

For an exercise to get your competition processor warmed up, punch the following questions into your analytical engine:

Q. Have you ever asked your parents about how they used computers when they were at school?
Q. Did they have 'computer lessons'?
Q. Was there a room with a few computers shared by the whole school?
Q. Did they have a computer at home?
Q. What age were your parents when they got a mobile phone?
Q. How about your grandparents!?

Now pedal these ideas back 200 years to the early 1800's ... a time before household electricity supplies, telephones and computers. This was the time of Ada Lovelace, yet she was the first 'computer programmer'!

What might fascinate Ada Lovelace about twenty-first century computing and technology?

Read more about the life of Ada Lovelace and some very recent material about her life and times.

And the prizes ...

Prizes include Tablets, family and school visits to TNMOC, books, and technology kits. With thanks to our sponsors Dixons Carphone, Penguin Books, ACM-W, University of Oxford and cs4fn.