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Computing (FOLDOC) dictionary
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1. computer HAL 9000, the murdering computer on the
spaceship in the science fiction classic "2001, A Space
Odyssey" by Arthur C. Clark.
"HAL" is "IBM" with each letter changed to the one before
and there is an unconfirmed rumour that 9000 is the sum of the
various IBM computer numbers that were in service at the time.
However, in the sequel "2010", Clarke emphatically denies that
HAL's name is supposed to be "one step ahead of IBM". It is,
rather, short for "heuristic algorithm".