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How Hollywood sees computers. Some films featuring computers:

  • 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
    HAL - computer as star. "I became operational ... in Urbana, Illinois, on January 12, 1997."
    2001: We are not even close to having a computer like Hal (also see `AI: Artificial Intelligence'), nor to having inter-planetary travel, although the latter is conceivable.
  • A for Andromeda (1961)
    A for Andromeda was actually a BBC TV series, based on an inventive plot by Fred Hoyle and John Elliot. An alien civilisation (in Andromeda) attempts world domination through a computer, the plans for which arrive in a radio message. Cold-war tensions were high in 1961 and play a part in the story.
  • AntiTrust (2001)
    Computer whiz starts work for Portland-based (that's quite near Seattle) NURV corporation but eventually discovers that the company has particularly ruthless business practices. (Nothing at all to do with the Microsoft antitrust case.)
  • AI: Artificial Intelligence (2001)
    David Swinton (Haley Joe Osment) is a robot boy programmed to love his human "family" but when he becomes surplus to requirements he is cast adrift and befriended by sex-robot Gigolo Joe (Jude Law). It is dangerous for lost robots out there in the human world. Dir: Steven Spielberg.
  • The Bank (2001)
    Jim Doyle (David Wenham) is a mathematics PhD who discovers a way to predict the stock market. The Bank's CEO, Simon O'Reilly (Anthony LaPaglia), seeks to exploit Doyle's discovery. The Mandelbrot set is used as an irrelevant motif, but apart from that here is a good yarn with some nice twists. Banks are not portrayed nicely in this film, and it strikes a chord with the audience! (An Australian movie.)
  • Clear and Present Danger (1994)
    (database search, passwords)
  • Conceiving Ada (1997)
    Tilda Swinton as Ada Lovelace who wrote on Charles Babbage's 19thC mechanical computing engines and may therefore have been the world's first computer programmer.
  • Cyberstalker (1995?)
  • Demon Seed (1977)
    Alex Harris' A.I., computer takes an unhealthy interest in his wife Susan Harris played by Julie Christie. Julie Christie first had a relationship with a computer in A for Andromeda (1961).
  • Desk Set (1957)
    (Katharine Hepburn / Spencer Tracy, office computerisation)
  • Disclosure (1994)
    (email, sgi, virtual reality)
  • Electric Dreams (1984)
    (computer as "romantic" go-between)
  • Enigma (2001)
    Loosely(!) based around the World War II German coding machine, the Polish resistance that smuggled one to England, and the boffins at Bletchley Park, England, who with their computers broke the code. Dir. Michael Apted.
    Also see `Turing' or `Enigma' in the [bibliography] or [bletchleypark.org.uk]
  • F2F (Face to Face) (1995?)
  • Final Fantasy X (2001)
    Notable for a "cast" of computer-generated "actors" that is very good, and very expensive, but still obviously not real. Makes an interesting comparison with `Lara Croft: Tomb Raider' (2001) which used real actors to play characters that originated from a computer game.
  • First Kid (1996)
    The US president's only child, Luke Davenport, (i.e. not Chelsea but there is a cameo by Bill Clinton) learns a lot about life from his new good-guy bodyguard. Later, Luke's earlier bodyguard, who carries a grudge against him for being fired, lures him out of the White House by posing as someone else on the internet - the stranger danger. There is excessive violence in the final show-down for what is plainly supposed to be a kids' film.
  • Hackers (1995)
  • I Robot (2004)
    A Hollyveneered version of an Isaac Asimov story: The `US Robotics' main computer, Viki, decides that humanity needs protecting from itself. Will Smith saves the day.
  • The IT Crowd (2006)
    A UK comedy series about the IT Dept of Reynholm Industries, "From the writer of Father Ted and Black Books..." (UK Channel 4 [2006]), started showing on ABC TV (.au) 9pm Wed. 27 Sept 2006. University Departments of Computer Science had been hoping for a TV series to do for student numbers what `Silent Witness' had done for Forensic Science, and Pathology, in UK Universities. This might not be that show, but it is funny.
  • Johnny Mnemonic (1995)
    (chip in brain!)
  • Jurassic Park (1993)
    (Unix, sgi)
  • Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001)
    A spin-off movie from the very successful computer/ video game `Tomb Raider'. Lady Lara Croft - Anglina Jolie, Manfred Powell - Iain Glen, Lord Richard Croft - Jon Voight, Alex West - Daniel Craig, Bryce - Noah Taylor. Bryce is a "nerd" who taps away at a laptop computer controlling various implausible gadgets for Lara.
  • The Lawnmower Man (1992)
    Sequel: The Lawnmower Man II (1995)
  • Love and Other Catastrophes (1996)
    A warm and funny film set in and around the University of Melbourne. There is a small computer connection: A nerd offers to hack into the University administration system to cancel Mia's huge library fines in return for certain "favours".
    Frances O'Connor : Mia, Alice Garner : Alice, Radha Mitchell : Danni, Matthew Dyktynski : Ari, Matt Day : Michael, Dir' = Emma-Kate Croghan.
  • Mainframe (1995?)
  • The Matrix (1999)
    Computer hacker Thomas Anderson (Keanu Reeves) is shown that reality is an elaborate computer simulation controlled by machines for the purpose of subjugating the human race. He joins a group of rebels to defeat the machines. At the end, apparently after defeating the machines, it is left ambiguous whether our hero will free the humans within or without the Matrix.
    Also  The Matrix Reloaded (2003) and
      The Matrix Revolutions (2003)
  • Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
    Nothing at all to do with computers, except perhaps for a very tenuous connection between witches and logic.
  • The Net (1995)
    (super-info-highway-bahn takeover conspiracy)
  • The Pelican Brief (1993)
    (conspiracy search, database search, identity theft, laptops)
  • Pi (1998)
    π, a low-budget, b+w, science fiction film: A nutty mathematical prodigy, Maximillian Cohen (Sean Gullette), sees patterns everywhere and in particular (with the aid of a computer) in the digits of π, patterns that may tell the secrets of the stock exchange, God, whatever. Dir: Darren Aronofsky.
  • Rosalie Goes Shopping (1989)
    (electronic banking, fraud)
  • Sleepless in Seattle(1993)
    (travel computer)
  • Sneakers (1992)
    (a chip exists that can crack any computer .... oh dear)
  • Tron (1982)
    (video-games, c.f. V.R.)
  • Virtuosity (1995)
    Denzel Washinton, Kelly Lynch and Russell Crowe. (Australian) Russell Crowe hams it up as Sid 6.7 a character in a computer game who escapes into the real world... cartoon-like ultra-violence.
  • WarGames (1983)
    (Computer kid nearly starts WW III.)
  • You've Got M@il (1998)
    Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks discover true love, again (see Sleepless in Seattle), this time by Internet chat, in part.

(check out the Internet (Cardiff) Movie Data-base, imdb.com).

Coding Ockham's Razor, L. Allison, Springer

A Practical Introduction to Denotational Semantics, L. Allison, CUP

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© L. Allison   http://www.allisons.org/ll/   (or as otherwise indicated),
Faculty of Information Technology (Clayton), Monash University, Australia 3800 (6/'05 was School of Computer Science and Software Engineering, Fac. Info. Tech., Monash University,
was Department of Computer Science, Fac. Comp. & Info. Tech., '89 was Department of Computer Science, Fac. Sci., '68-'71 was Department of Information Science, Fac. Sci.)
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