Victorian lady, Ada Lovelace, was the first to see that computers if ever built would be more than just calculating machines as others thought. She said that one day they would be creative, for example, being able to compose new music.
She saw that numbers were about more than just maths. They can stand for anything – music for example. Today when we talk of things being digital – digital music, digital cameras, digital television, all we really mean is that songs, pictures, films can be stored as long strings of numbers. All we need is to agree a code of what the numbers mean – notes, colours, lines. Once that is decided we can write computer programs to manipulate them, to store them, to send them over the Internet. Out of that idea comes the whole of our digital world.
Lesson from the past: numbers can be anything