Home­town His­tory

Antelope Valley Press - - Lifestyle - WRIT­TEN BY Vern Lawson | Spe­cial to the Val­ley Press

The Y2K scare

The new year of 2020 is ar­riv­ing on Jan. 1, prob­a­bly loaded above the rim with nu­mer­ous ex­plo­sive news breaks — the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion, im­peach­ment ef­forts, the gath­er­ing of cen­sus data, wor­ries about in­ter­na­tional re­la­tion­ships, the cli­mate cri­sis and dozens of an­tic­i­pated and sur­prise sto­ries we can’t even imag­ine.

But 20 years ago, there was one enor­mous con­cern that the cy­ber world might not sur­vive the global cen­tury change.

The point of anx­i­ety was the 2000 year prob­lem, also known as the Y2K prob­lem, the Mil­len­nium bug, the Y2K bug, the Y2K gl­itch or sim­ply, Y2K.

The ti­tles re­fer to a class of com­puter bugs re­lated to the for­mat­ting and stor­age of cal­en­dar data for dates be­gin­ning in the year 2000.

Prob­lems were an­tic­i­pated, and arose, be­cause many pro­grams rep­re­sented four-digit years with only the fi­nal two dig­its — mak­ing the year 2000 in­dis­tin­guish­able from 1900.

The as­sump­tion of a 20th-cen­tury date in such pro­grams could cause var­i­ous er­rors, such as the in­cor­rect dis­play of dates and the in­ac­cu­rate or­der­ing of au­to­mated dated records or real-time events.

In 1997, the Bri­tish Stan­dards In­sti­tute (BSI) de­vel­oped stan­dard DISC PD2000-1 defin­ing “Year 2000 Con­form­ity re­quire­ments” as four rules.

1. No valid date will cause any in­ter­rup­tion in op­er­a­tions.

2. Date-based func­tion­al­ity must be­have con­sis­tently for dates prior to, dur­ing and af­ter year 2000.

3. In all in­ter­faces and in all stor­age, the cen­tury must be un­am­bigu­ous, ei­ther spec­i­fied, or cal­cu­la­ble by al­go­rithm.

4. Year 2000 must be rec­og­nized as a leap year. By 1999, An­te­lope Val­ley had be­come the planet’s ex­tra­or­di­nary cen­ter for a wide va­ri­ety of aero­space ac­tiv­i­ties, lead­ing to this news­pa­per pro­mot­ing the re­gion as Aero­space Val­ley.

In man­u­fac­tur­ing, test­ing, cal­i­brat­ing and all sorts of com­puter age dilem­mas, the Y2K prob­lem pro­vided ex­tremely wor­ri­some sit­u­a­tions that might lead to nu­mer­ous catas­tro­phes.

Com­pa­nies and or­ga­ni­za­tions in some, but not all coun­tries checked, fixed and up­graded their com­puter sys­tems to ad­dress the an­tic­i­pated prob­lem. Very few com­puter fail­ures were re­ported when the clocks rolled over into 2000.

On Jan. 17, 2000, Sci­en­tific American pub­lished a story un­der a head­line that said: “The Gl­itch That Didn’t Steal New Year’s.” “Y2K re­ally did sound pretty omi­nous. It was said that as the clocks rolled over to the year 2000, un­pre­pared com­put­ers would in­ter­pret the date as 1900. And this seem­ingly small er­ror would

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.