Not ‘HAL’ from 2001: A Space Odyssey, but a Real Supercomputer Used by NASA

Ask an Expert Live

May 16, 2018 | 12:30pm
Presented Online

Fifty years ago, the film 2001: a Space Odyssey featured a computer, “HAL,” that could converse with its human crew in plain English and perform a number of intelligent tasks (at least until the final scenes!). Join us on Facebook Live as curator Paul Ceruzzi discusses what real supercomputers of the 1960s looked like and what they did (and did not do). He will describe the Museum's exhibit of a Control Data Corporation model 3800 computer, which was used by the Air Force to track and control satellites and by NASA to solve complex aerodynamics equations. Ceruzzi will also give some details about the computer’s legendary designer, Seymour Cray, who is considered the “father” of supercomputers.

Tune in on our Facebook page. 


Every Wednesday at 12:30 p.m. we will go live on the National Air and Space Museum Facebook page with an Ask an Expert talk. We’ll select a different aviation or space topic each week, and a Museum staff member will discuss the history, stories, or personalities related to a specific artifact or exhibition in the Museum. Tune in on Facebook Live each week to join the talk and ask our experts questions.