HAL was the computer from 2001: A Space Oddesy and from its sequel, 2010. A fun fact about the movie was that when it was produced, IBM was the only company that sold computers. Microsoft and Apple didn't exist. So, to not make references, the letters in IBM were moved down one letter, creating HAL. HAL was also effective because he didn't have a face, and wasn't doing anything wrong.
Robert: Open the main pod bay doors HAL.
HAL: I'm sorry Robert, I can't do that.
Robert: Damn you, open these doors!