Lectures to Celebrate "Birthday" of Hal, The 2001 Computer

Release Date: March 25, 1997 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The Faculty of Natural Sciences and Mathematics at the University at Buffalo is marking the "birthday" of the infamous talking computer, HAL, of the movie "2001: A Space Odyssey," by presenting two lectures by author and scientist David G. Stork, Ph.D., on Monday, April 14.

Stork will deliver a lecture for general audiences, entitled "The Hal 9000 Computer and the Vision of '2001: A Space Odyssey'," at 7:30 p.m. in Room 215 of the Natural Sciences Complex on the UB North (Amherst) Campus.

Stork, author of "HAL's Legacy: 2001's Computer as Dream and Reality" (MIT Press, October 1996), is a chief scientist at the Ricoh California Research Center, head of its Machine Learning and Perception Group and a consulting professor of electrical engineering and visiting scholar in psychology at Stanford University.

For a more technically proficient audience, Stork will present a talk on "Seeing Speech: Speechreading ('Lipreading') by Computer" at 3 p.m. in Room 220, Natural Sciences Complex. Stork will discuss the Ricoh speechreading system, potential commercial applications and future research.

Free and open to the public, both talks are part of the 1997 John W. Cowper Distinguished Visiting Lecture Series. Principal funding for the series is provided by the Cowper-Siegfried Company, Inc.; the Orrin Foster Lecture Fund, and the UB Sesquicentennial Planning Committee.

According to the Arthur C. Clarke novel on which "2001: A Space Odyssey" was based, HAL became operational in January 1997.

For Stork, HAL's birthday is a prime time to look back and compare the 1968 film's computer science "predictions" with current technological fact.

How real was HAL and how close are computer scientists to creating one, Stork asks.

Unlike most science-fiction movies, Stork says, "2001" succeeds because the people who made the film worked strenuously to incorporate into it real science and technology; it has even been used in the training of NASA astronauts.

Technological advancements included in the film that Stork will compare to current state-of-the-art include artificial intelligence, computer vision, computer lipreading, speech recognition, reasoning, the ability to play chess, reliability, computer emotions and interface designs.

Stork will illustrate his talk with many clips from the movie.

For more information on either program, contact Cindy Nydahl at 645-2531.

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