Ada Lovelace Zitate
Rechenmaschinen und Mathematik
A new, a vast, and a powerful language is developed for the future use of analysis, in which to wield its truths so that these may become of more speedy and accurate practical application for the purposes of mankind than the means hitherto in our possession have rendered possible.
I never am really satisfied that I understand anything; because, understand it well as I may, my comprehension can only be an infinitesimal fraction of all I want to understand about the many connections and relations which occur to me, how the matter in question was first thought of or arrived at, etc.
In abstract mathematics, of course operations alter those particular relations which are involved in the considerations of number and space, and the results of operations are those peculiar results which correspond to the nature of the subjects of operation.
In almost every computation a great variety of arrangements for the succession of the processes is possible, and various considerations must influence the selections amongst them for the purposes of a calculating engine.
In considering any new subject, there is frequently a tendency, first, to overrate what we find to be already interesting or remarkable; and, secondly, by a sort of natural reaction, to undervalue the true state of the case, when we do discover that our notions have surpassed those that were really tenable.
In enabling mechanism to combine together general symbols in successions of unlimited variety and extent, a uniting link is established between the operations of matter and the abstract mental processes of the most abstract branch of mathematical science.
It may be desirable to explain, that by the word operation, we mean any process which alters the mutual relation of two or more things, be this relation of what kind it may. This is the most general definition, and would include all subjects in the universe.
It were much to be desired, that when mathematical processes pass through the human brain instead of through the medium of inanimate mechanism, it were equally a necessity of things that the reasonings connected with operations should hold the same just place as a clear and well-defined branch of the subject of analysis, a fundamental but yet independent ingredient in the science, which they must do in studying the engine.
Many persons who are not conversant with mathematical studies imagine that because the business of Babbage's Analytical Engine is to give its results in numerical notation, the nature of its processes must consequently be arithmetical and numerical, rather than algebraical and analytical. This is an error. The engine can arrange and combine its numerical quantities exactly as if they were letters or any other general symbols; and in fact it might bring out its results in algebraical notation, were provisions made accordingly.
One essential object is to choose that arrangement which shall tend to reduce to a minimum the time necessary for completing the calculation.
Secondly, figures, the symbols of numerical magnitude, are frequently also the symbols of operations, as when they are the indices of powers. Wherever terms have a shifting meaning, independent sets of considerations are liable to become complicated together, and reasoning and results are frequently falsified.
That brain of mine is something more than merely mortal; as time will show.
The Analytical Engine has no pretensions whatever to originate anything. It can do whatever we know how to order it to perform. It can follow analysis; but it has no power of anticipating any analytical relations or truths. Its province is to assist us in making available what we are already acquainted with.
The Analytical Engine weaves algebraic patterns, just as the Jacquard loom weaves flowers and leaves.
The Analytical Engine, on the contrary, can either add, subtract, multiply or divide with equal facility; and performs each of these four operations in a direct manner, without the aid of any of the other three.
The intellectual, the moral, the religious seem to me all naturally bound up and interlinked together in one great and harmonious whole.
The method of differences is, in fact, a method of additions; and as it includes within its means a larger number of results attainable by addition simply, than any other mathematical principle, it was very appropriately selected as the basis on which to construct an Adding Machine, so as to give to the powers of such a machine the widest possible range.
The more I study, the more insatiable do I feel my genius for it to be.
The object of the engine is in fact to give the utmost practical efficiency to the resources of numerical interpretations of the higher science of analysis, while it uses the processes and combinations of this latter.
The purpose which that engine has been specially intended and adapted to fulfill, is the computation of nautical and astronomical tables.
This one fact implies everything; and it is scarcely necessary to point out, for instance, that while the Difference Engine can merely tabulate, and is incapable of developing, the Analytical Engine can either tabulate or develop.
Those who view mathematical science, not merely as a vast body of abstract and immutable truths, whose intrinsic beauty, symmetry and logical completeness, when regarded in their connection together as a whole, entitle them to a prominent place in the interest of all profound and logical minds, but as possessing a yet deeper interest for the human race, when it is remembered that this science constitutes the language through which alone we can adequately express the great facts of the natural world, and those unceasing changes of mutual relationship which, visibly or invisibly, consciously or unconsciously to our immediate physical perceptions, are interminably going on in the agencies of the creation we live amidst: those who thus think on mathematical truth as the instrument through which the weak mind of man can most effectually read his Creator’s works, will regard with especial interest all that can tend to facilitate the translation of its principles into explicit practical forms.
Thus not only the mental and the material, but the theoretical and the practical in the mathematical world, are brought into more intimate and effective connection with each other.
Understand well as I may, my comprehension can only be an infinitesimal fraction of all I want to understand.
We cannot forbear suggesting one practical result which it appears to us must be greatly facilitated by the independent manner in which the engine orders and combines its operations: we allude to the attainment of those combinations into which imaginary quantities enter.
We may say most aptly, that the Analytical Engine weaves algebraical patterns just as the Jacquard-loom weaves flowers and leaves.
We might even invent laws for series or formula in an arbitrary manner, and set the engine to work upon them, and thus deduce numerical results which we might not otherwise have thought of obtaining; but this would hardly perhaps in any instance be productive of any great practical utility, or calculated to rank higher than as a philosophical amusement.