Saint Valentine may not have been an Irishman, but the renowned saint’s remains were given to an Irish priest called Father John Spratt in 1836 by Pope Gregory XVI. They were brought by him to Whitefriars Street Church in Dublin where they remain to this day. Therefore we in Ireland hold him and his feast day, February 14th, in a special place in our hearts.
When it comes to matters of romance, not many people consider programmers or developers to be romantic types and indeed they are frequently portrayed in fiction and film as being rather naïve in such matters. How often have we heard the term geek or nerd applied unfairly to these heroes/heroines of the information age? But when you think about it, this is a very narrow-minded way of considering a much maligned group of people.
For instance you only have to reflect on the binary nature of the much loved romantic game played by picking petals from a daisy while reciting the phrase “He/she loves me. He/she loves me not.” Clearly this most romantic and widely played love game was invented by a programmer well versed in binary gate logic.
George Boole, a Professor of Mathematics at University College Cork, is credited as the father of modern day computing. He believed that logical propositions could be expressed by means of algebraic equations. This led to a new branch of mathematics called Boolean algebra which in the 20th century was used to design electrical switches to solve Boolean problems. This of course became the basis for digital circuit design in the computer age. Boole was clearly a romantic man having had, with his wife Mary, five daughters in 8 years between 1856 and 1864.
Software developers and programmers are responsible for all of the world’s dating websites and apps which use complex database management to predict which people are likely to get along so much that they become romantically involved. All the messaging apps, photo sharing, flower and chocolate, romantic getaway break booking websites, all of them are built and maintained by programmers and developers.
These heroes and heroines ensure that we, the general public, manage to express our love, buy those gifts, send those roses, keep in touch while away, share those romantic photos and those special songs so that love continues to flourish not only on Valentine’s Day but on every other day of the year as well.
We salute you programmers and developers; you are the most romantic people in the world.