HAL was a computer system consisting of two computers, and was one of the simulator's greatest assets during a mission. One computer was placed in the Habitat and the other was placed in the Simulator area. Its function was to communicate between the astronauts and the simulators. Usually the simulators used HAL to inform the astronauts of the nature of the disaster and explain to them what the cause of various problems. HAL could also warn the astronauts of impending disasters. Occasionally HAL was used to transmit other information to the astronauts such as homework and reminders for various tasks. In 2006-07, HAL was replaced by AUXCOM.
To use HAL, simply type a message into the message box. To send a message, press the tab key. It may require several seconds and repeated banging of the tab key to send a message. It is important to remember that HAL may only display one message at a time, and thus it is essential that the astronauts have read your original message before sending out another.
HAL was named after the sentient computer entity, also known as "HAL 9000" from the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey. Since HAL was introduced before the presence of simulators was widely known, the only explanation offered by the administration as to how HAL worked was that it was an sentient computer program; hence it was named HAL.
HAL was due to be expanded to include a readout in both Mission Control and the Longhouse. However, this project was abandoned after the computer on which the program operated was scrapped. It has since been replaced by a new AUXCOM to MC for communication purposes, and the Engineering Software, as well as an improved EECOM warning system for disaster simulation.