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Comments (2)

1 Chris Nay commented Permalink

Both Arthur C. Clarke and Stanley Kubrick deny the connection between IBM and the name HAL:

"As is clearly stated in the novel (Chapter 16), HAL stands for Heuristically programmed ALgorithmic computer. However, about once a week some character spots the fact that HAL is one letter ahead of IBM, and promptly assumes that Stanley and I were taking a crack at the estimable institution ... As it happened, IBM had given us a good deal of help, so we were quite embarrassed by this, and would have changed the name had we spotted the coincidence." -- Clarke

2 David Davidian commented Permalink

As is often brought up, just because John Lennon said Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds had no connection with LSD, didn't make it so. What else could Lennon say? Even though Clarke stated on multiple occasions there is no connection between IBM and HAL, why was Discovery's computer in its various forms, finally renamed HAL from either Socrates or Athena as it was called throughout Clarke's developmental drafts of the story? Perhaps we will never know. See your same wikipedia page under Development. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HAL_9000#Development).

Given IBM's help with the story, and the rather odd, Heuristically programmed ALgorithmic computer, name for a computer, a connection between HAL and IBM seems quite possible – even if emphatically denied.
It would be interesting to know just what IBM R&D contributed to the story. While it may have been difficult in the 1960s to predict specific HW development for the late 1990s, such as memory and storage technologies as clear examples (note the huge memory units David Bowman was disabling), and processing power (which more was need to produce a HAL9000 by the 1990s), SW and algorithmic development may have been close to bulls eyes! This is surely an amazing prediction by IBM.
I would be very interesting to see if there is a Jeopardy question about the HAL9000 asked next month :-)

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