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The sun and the crescent moon aligned with each other was a symbol of Zoroastrianism, an ancient Persian religion that predated Buddhism and Christianity and was based on the teachings of the prophet Zoroaster (also known as Zarathustra). This particular alignment symbolized the eternal struggle between light and darkness.
Richard Strauss music was based on Friedrich Nietzsches book "Also Sprach Zarathustra," which concerned the teachings of the Persian prophet Zoroaster and included the idea that someday man would evolve into a "superman" or higher being. This theme is also central to 2001, making the choice of music extremely appropriate.
It may be the name is an homage to Homers epic poem "The Odyssey," whose hero Odysseus, was an expert archer (bow-man).
HAL stands for "Heuristically programmed ALgorithmic computer," "heuristic" and "algorithmic" being the two primary processes of learning.
According to Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke, the IBM connection (where the three letters in HAL happen to be exactly 1 letter before each letter in IBM in the alphabet) was strictly a coincidence.
The process is known as "Slitscan photography." It was developed by Douglas Trumbull (later special effects supervisor on Close Encounters of the Third Kind ) and involved moving the camera rapidly past different pieces of lighted artwork, with the camera shutter held open to allow for a streaking effect.
The overall effect gave the audience the sense of plunging into the infinite.
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