Calvin Sylveste, son of Lorean Sylveste and father to Dan Sylveste, was from an enormously wealthy family of scholars and industrialists, and was one of the most prominent and famous people in the Yellowstone Demarchy during the Belle Epoque.
He was mostly referred to because of the scandal of the Eighty. Calvin was an avid cyberneticist, and wished to find a way in which the human mind could be scanned and uploaded onto a computer matrix, from where it would retain sentience and become a true Alpha-level Simulation.
He rounded up eighty volunteers (including himself) -- all from distinguished families -- to be subjected to the most highly detailed neural scan in existence. However, the scan had to be taken so fast that the brain would be permanently destroyed afterwards. The volunteers did not care much about what happened to their physical bodies once the scan had happened, so no-one had any disagreements. They expected to rise to a higher level of consciousness, Eighty above the rest of corporeal humanity, and so the experiments were called the Trans-Migration.
After the scans were taken, everything appeared to be correct and functioning. He had succeeded. But by one year after the first scan was initialised, and the last ones were being done, something went wrong. The simulations started freezing, or entering paradoxical loops and shutting down. There was apparently a conceptual flaw in the scan's design, and none of the Alpha-levels survived except a few; Calvin was one, along with Aurora Nerval Lermontov. It was deemed mass murder on Sylveste's part and he went down in history as such.
Originally known only to him, he had known that the Trans-Migratory process had a chance of failure. As an insurance policy he cloned himself years before his own scan, at the very beginning of his thoughts on the subject. The ultimate aim was to override his "son's" mind by overlaying it with his beta-level simulation.
- Cal is a character that is referenced often in all books of the series, but is most prominent in Revelation Space.