Dr. Chandra was affiliated with the University of Illinois, Urbana and the University of Chicago (film). His inspirations are John von Neumann and Alan Turing. Chandra invented the HAL 9000 supercomputer. He had spent many years trying to figure out what went wrong with HAL. Chandra experimented with a twin model, called SAL 9000.
Chandra was chosen to participate in the Russian/USA expedition to Jupiter, along with two other Americans, Walter Curnow and Heywood Floyd. They were enlisted on The Leonov, a Soviet vessel that is installed with a Sakharov Drive for its propulsion system. The team was placed into Suspended Animation until arriving to their destination.
After Walter Curnow and Maxim Brajlovsky stabilize Discovery, Chandra reactivated HAL and methodically examined him. Eventually he discovered the reason for HAL's malfunction was because he had been given conflicting orders- he was a computer designed for providing accurate information, and he had been ordered to keep the purpose of the mission from David Bowman and Frank Poole.
When the crew of the Leonov decided to leave early, Chandra was required to occupy Hal, and keep him from aborting the countdown. After the Leonov was launched in orbit, Chandra and the other two American astronauts were put into suspended animation.
2010: Odyssey TwoEdit
In the novel 2010: Odyssey Two, Chandra's full name is Sivasubramanian Chandrasegarampillai, and is from India. Due to the casting in the 1984 movie, it is not clear whether Chandra is still meant to be Indian. His full name, as given above, was also never mentioned and he was only ever called Dr. Chandra. In the film, Bob Balaban spoke with his normal American accent and had no accouterments that suggest an Indian heritage.
The original film 2001: A Space Odyssey refers to a Dr. Langley as HAL's instructor. The 2010 novel retcons this fact and refers to Chandra as the instructor in the novel's flashback to the events depicting HAL's disconnection.
2061: Odyssey ThreeEdit
In 2061: Odyssey Three, it was revealed that Chandra had died in hibernation on the return trip to Earth. No obvious cause of death could be found, though his crewmates speculated that "he couldn't live without HAL.", despite his intention to build another 9000 computer when he returns to Earth.