In the novels of Arthur C. Clarke
, a professor
of computer science
at the University of Illinois
, Urbana/Champaign, and one of the designers of the HAL 9000
computer system. He was of Indian
descent; his full name was Dr. Sivasubramanian Chandrasegarampillai. His office on the university campus contained little except his chair and console
, but did have, as decoration, pictures of John von Neumann
and Alan Turing
on one wall.
Chandra was very upset by the malfunction and loss of HAL on the Discovery's mission to Jupiter in 2001, and he was pleased to hear of the Russian spacecraft Leonov's mission on 2010, on which he would be a member of the crew. Prior to departure, he tested the process of disconnection and reactivation on HAL's twin, SAL 9000.
Upon the Leonov's arrival at Jupiter and rendezvous with Discovery, Chandra boarded the ship and successfully reactivated HAL. Using a sophisticated tapeworm program, he was able to erase all of HAL's memories about the malfunction in the ship's AE-35 Unit and subsequent events. In the process, he was also able to properly diagnose HAL's malfunction; he determined that HAL had become trapped in a Hofstadter-Moebius loop, displaying symptoms similar to schizophrenia. After much cybernetic "psychoanalysis," Chandra proclaimed HAL cured and trustworthy, though it didn't stop Dr. Heywood Floyd from arranging for a scram switch to be installed that would cut HAL's power if he turned psychotic again. (Unbeknownst to Dr. Floyd, Chandra found and disconnected the mechanism.)
Chandra became quite defensive with regard to HAL, spending most of his time with the computer and even volunteering to remain aboard Discovery as it flew back to Earth on a minimum-energy trajectory. However, the mysterious warning that Floyd received from David Bowman upset those plans, and Chandra was forced to change HAL's programming so he could control Discovery to act as a "first stage" for Leonov to return. Chandra expressed doubts that HAL would understand their need to leave so quickly, but, in the end, HAL fired the engines precisely on schedule. HAL's subsequent destruction, along with the Discovery, in the cataclysmic explosion that created Lucifer was profoundly upsetting to Chandra, even though he had already been hard at work on the design of a newer, more powerful computer. Sadly, Chandra himself died in hibernation somewhere between Jupiter and Earth, and was buried in space. One crew member speculated, "He couldn't live without HAL."
Source: Arthur C. Clarke, 2010: odyssey two, 2061: odyssey three