03 January 2012

Question of the Day - 3 January 2012

What is the name of the talking computer in 2001: A Space Odyssey?

Quel est le nom de l’ordinateur parlant dans 2001 : L’ Odyssée de l’Espace ?


Dáithaí C said...

H.A.L. offset one and it becomes IBM. As I remember HAL turned on David!

Páraic Maguire said...

HAL is correct (Heuristic ALgorithmic). The "IBM" part is an urban legend. According to Arthur C Clarke in his book "The Lost Worlds of 2001":

"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."