Ada Lovelace’s work with Charles Babbage on the Analytical Engine lead to her contributions to the development of modern computing. Fortunately, she began working on possibilities for programming the Engine before it was built, which lead to three ideas that modern programmers use today: subroutines, loops and jumps. This saved the time, effort and money it would have taken to produce multiples of a certain calculation. The jumps even allowed for the Analytical Engine to follow if/then instructions which implied it could make some decisions. All of these were published in a manner still understood by programmers today, showing her understanding of computer programming a century before the first programmed computer. This allowed for her work to be studied later when programmable machines actually existed.
Lovelace was in a unique position that allowed her to succeed despite her gender. First of all, she was a very skilled mathematician and as a countess received an excellent education. Secondly, she made a very important friend at one of her mother’s dinner parties: Charles Babbage. Her obvious understanding of his Difference Engine at that party lead to a lifetime of working together on the Analytical Engine. Her skills as a mathematician allowed her to see the true potential behind his machine. She saw that unlike other computing machines, this machine preformed its computations by counting. In addition, her relationship with Babbage helped her research, whereas, a woman working alone would have faced more obstacles. Thirdly and as a result of her education, Ava Lovelace was able to publish her ideas in a comprehensible way.