CHM Presents

To Dream Tomorrow

directed by John Fuegi and Jo Francis
Jan 21, 2003 6:00 PM Speaker Series
In 1843, Ada Byron Lovelace moved beyond her illustrious predecessors Leibnitz and Pascal, and even her brilliant contemporary, Charles Babbage, to describe universal computing much as we understand it today. World authority on early computing devices, Doron Swade of the London Science Museum states in To Dream Tomorrow: Ada saw something that Babbage in some sense failed to see. In Babbage's world his engines were bound by number. What Ada Lovelace saw was that numbers could represent entities other than quantity.

With the aid of Ada's descendant, the Earl of Lytton, the directors have done a fresh and comprehensive reading of Lovelace and Babbage material at Oxford's Bodleian Library, the Woking History Center, the British Library and in private collections. The film was shot at some of the most dazzlingly beautiful locations in England.

Comments from Doron Swade about To Dream Tomorrow

The film is quite simply superb. The narrative is authoritative based as it is on thoroughly researched primary and secondary sources as well as consultation with experts...

In cinematic terms the film is a visual treat - sumptuous scenes of period scientific and computing aids and machines, landscapes and skyscapes of the Lovelace country homes, and the layering of meanings through voiceover, overlays of images, and unspoken depiction, are part of a documentary genre worthy of debate in its own cinematic right.

There is as much of Babbage's tale as there is of Ada's. The film is essentially about the development of ideas on automatic computation in the context of the collaboration between the two. The film will be of interest to historians of computing on this account alone. It is certainly the best filmic account of Babbage's own efforts and of the collaboration that has been made.
To Dream Tomorrow