THE ORIGIN OF HAL 9000
06 May 2015 Filed under: Miscellany
HAL 9000 (voiced by Douglas Rain) is the spaceship Discovery’s onboard computer in 2001: A Space Odyssey* (1968); he became operational at the H.A.L. plant in Urbana, Illinois, on the 12th of January, 1992. Contrary to popular belief, HAL’s name is not a play on computer manufacturer IBM (shifted one letter to the left), but is short for "Heuristically-programmed ALgorithmic computer", as Arthur C. Clarke makes clear in his novelisation of the film's screenplay (which he co-wrote with director Stanley Kubrick).
"I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that."
*Rock Hudson is said to have walked out of the Los Angeles premiere of 2001, and remarked: “Will someone tell me what the hell this is about?”