September 12, 2020 is International Programmer’s Day, a commemoration that hides some curiosities that are worth discovering.
- The celebration coincides with the 256th day of the year, so the celebration is usually on 13 September minus leap years, such as 2020, which is brought forward to 12 September. The 256 was chosen because it is the number of different values that can be represented with an eight-bit byte. Furthermore, 256 is the highest power of 2 before exceeding 365, a number that defines the number of days in a year.
- It began in Russia thanks to Valentin Balt, a young man who in 2002 worked for the web design company Parallel Technologies. It was he who asked the Ministry of Communications to celebrate this day, but it was not until 2009 that the then President of Russia, Dmitry Medvedev authorised this date to be taken up by programmers to celebrate their day. Since then many other countries have joined the commemoration.
- Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace, better known as Ada Lovelace, is considered the first programmer in history. Lovelace, whose job was largely to document what Charles Babbage (who is considered the father of computing) did and designed, wrote the series of instructions that would have to be entered into the Analytical Machine (a calculating machine invented by Babbage) to make a certain calculation. In other words, he wrote an algorithm, and described a programming language, albeit in a primitive and cursory manner. Thus she became the first programmer in history. That first program was calculating the values of Bernoulli’s numbers. Later she systematized the programming process of the Machine, with a series of more detailed and complex algorithms.
Happy programmer’s day!