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HAL 9000

HAL 9000 is a fictional character in the novel and film 2001 A Space Odyssey. He is the sentient on-board computer of the spaceship Discovery. HAL is mostly seen only as his television camera "eyes" that are an omnipresent feature of the Discovery. The voice of HAL 9000 was performed by the actor Douglas Rain[?].

In the film, HAL is depicted as being capable not only of speech recognition, and natural language understanding but also lip reading[?].

Many people think the name was taken from IBM (because H precedes I, A precedes B and L precedes M alphabetically). Arthur C. Clarke denied such wordplay (even getting one of his characters to deny it in the sequel 2010 Odyssey Two) and says that the name actually means Heuristically programmed ALgorithmic computer. Many find this denial unconvincing. (Note that the HAL 9000 nameplate is modelled on similar nameplates for IBM computers). A similar alphabetic shift is behind the abbreviation WNT for Windows NT.

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