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HAL

(1) An interface between hardware and software. See hardware abstraction layer.

(2) (Heuristic/ALgorithmic) The name of the computer that took over command of the spaceship in Stanley Kubrick's famous film "2001: A Space Odyssey." Each letter in H-A-L precedes the letters I-B-M. When the movie was released in 1968, IBM controlled almost every aspect of the computer industry; however, the HAL-IBM connection was supposedly a coincidence.



hardware abstraction layer

An interface between hardware and software. A hardware abstraction layer (HAL) is generally used as a common driver for peripheral devices. The application calls the operating system; the OS calls the HAL, and the HAL instructions activate the specific hardware.

A HAL is used in many operating systems. For example, it was built into Windows, starting with Windows NT. It is also used in DOS, Mac, Android, Linux and various Unix versions. See abstraction layer, driver, DirectX and HAL.



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