October 15 is Ada Lovelace Day, founded in 2009 to celebrate the achievements of women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Ada Lovelace, born in 1815, wrote several programs for Charles Babbage’s Analytical Engine, a design that was never built but that foreshadowed today’s computers. For this reason, Lovelace is known as the first computer programmer. Her work was incredibly visionary – she predicted computers that would produce images and sound, not just solve math problems. Her writing later inspired Alan Turing’s work on the first modern computers in the 1940s.
A Wikipedia Edit-a-thon is being held in honor of Ada Lovelace Day. Started by Maia Weinstock, the Edit-a-thon’s purpose is to add or improve articles about women in STEM fields. A lot of significant lady STEM folks don’t have articles written about them, or the articles that do exist are stubs. This might have something to do with the fact that only 15% of Wikipedia contributors are women – which, hey, is up from 13% in 2011 so yay? Hopefully this Edit-a-thon leads to more regular lady contributors at Wikipedia, in addition to the great articles I’m sure it will produce.
The Edit-a-thon runs from 3pm to 8:30pm EST today. Find more information, a list of suggested articles to produce, and get involved at this link.
Jos Truitt likes to get lost on the Why-ko-pee-die-a and would like to read longer articles about lady nerds.