In the 200 years since Ada Lovelace's birth, she has been celebrated, neglected, and taken up as a symbol for any number of causes and ideas. This talk traces some of paths the idea of Lovelace and her imagination of Charles Babbage's Analytical Engine has taken, what basis they have in her life, and what they tell us about the devices and desires of their scholarship and society. It includes an account of our experimental humanities work in response to both Lovelace and the operatic Ada sketches of composer Emily Howard: we created a web application to produce music from maths through programming a digital simulation of the Analytical Engine, after Lovelace's idea that 'the engine might compose elaborate and scientific pieces of music of any degree of complexity or extent'.
This collaborative research was supported through the following EPSRC project: Fusing Semantic and Audio Technologies for Intelligent Music Production and Consumption (EP/L019981/1). This talk was first given as a Digital Scholarship Seminar at the Moore Institute, NUI Galway.
The talk will be followed by a demonstration, Making Numbers into Notes: the making of Ada Lovelace's generative music. Attendees of the talk are welcome to join this session also. No booking required for the demonstration.