Magazine article Workforce

Y2K: More Than Just PCs

Magazine article Workforce

Y2K: More Than Just PCs

Article excerpt

Are you ready for the Year 2000? More importantly, is your technical equipment? On January 1, 2000, every computer-and every computer chip-in the United States needs to recognize that we're leaving the 1900s behind. Many need to be reprogrammed, since original coding often used only two digits to denote the year. This design flaw means computers may not distinguish whether 00 means 1900 or 2000, which may lead to possible shutdowns, inaccurate data and faulty calculations. Fixing the problem may be painstaking and labor intensive; not fixing it may be worse.

What can go wrong?

Computer chips are embedded in all kinds of equipment. If you have machinery or production processes that are computer-controlled, this equipment could fail or malfunction after 1999 turns into 2000. Some businesses have computerized information on hazardous materials. Will you be able to access that in the year 2000? What about computer chips programmed to print out routine maintenance messages? Will they work?

For example, a power-generating station simulated changing the date for a boiler feedwater control loop. The change caused the feedwater regulating valves to slam shut and initiated a boiler trip logic. …

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