Accession Number : ADA323335

Title :   Defusing the Millennium Time Bomb.

Corporate Author : OFFICE OF THE DIRECTOR OF INFORMATION SYSTEMS FOR COMMAND CONTROL COMMUNICA- T IONS AND COMPUTERS WASHINGTON DC

Personal Author(s) : Braunberg, Andrew C.

PDF Url : ADA323335

Report Date : JUN 1996

Pagination or Media Count : 6

Abstract : A worldwide computer time bomb is ticking toward a cataclysmic explosion. This detonation could cause total collapse in international business, financial and defense markets unless partially identified hardware and software corrections can be implemented on an unprecedented scale. Without attention, almost all of the world's microprocessor dependent systems progressively will become unreliable between now and the year 2000. The global market for correcting the problem could total $200 billion to $400 billion by the year 2000, according to a widely touted estimate. An independent MITRE Corporation assessment of military vulnerability to the software problem describes it as real and potentially catastrophic. Military logistics systems, in the process of creating five-year stockpiles, already are encountering the problem, as are financial and insurance institutions. Critical systems in the U.S. Defense Department could face substantial failure if the department does not aggressively address what is known as the year 2000 problem. The problem arises from the once-common practice of representing years by only their last two digits, for example, 1996 as 96 and 2000 as 00. While the year 2000 obviously occurs after the year 1996, two-digit representations change this relationship. This is because computers use mathematical comparisons to determine time sequence. A computer employing two-digit year representations would determine incorrectly that the year 00 occurs before the year 99 when a simple greater than comparison is done. In other words, because 99 is greater than 00, the year 99, or 1999, is calculated to have come after the year 00, or 2000. A host of mistakes can result from two-digit year representations.

Descriptors :   *DEFICIENCIES, *RELIABILITY(ELECTRONICS), *CORRECTIONS, *COMPUTER PROGRAM RELIABILITY, MILITARY OPERATIONS, DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE, GLOBAL, COMMERCE, MARKETING, DEFENSE SYSTEMS, MICROPROCESSORS, COMPUTERS, VULNERABILITY, TIME, LOGISTICS, INTERNATIONAL, BOMBS, FINANCE.

Subject Categories : Computer Programming and Software
      Computer Hardware

Distribution Statement : APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE