Y2k Solutions Essay, Research Paper
In order to explain how to solve the millennium bug, it is a good idea to be informed about exactly what the year 2000 problem is. Computers were programmed to store the date in the following format: dd/mm/yy. This only allows 2 digits for the year. January 1, 2000 will be stored as 01/01/00. The computer will interpret this as January 1, 1900 and not 2000. The ‘19′ is hard-coded into computer hardware and software. There are only 2 physical spaces for the year so the only logical choice is to reset the number to ‘00′. With the millennium bug coming closer, experts have discovered several ways to deal with the problem.
Changing the 2-digit date fields to 4-digit date fields is one method of fixing the millenium bug. This approach requires changes to both the data and the programs by converting all references and uses of 2-digit year format to 4-digit year format. It also requires you to convert all software programs that use the updated data. This is probably the only complete and permanent solution to the problem. This method will give businesses an endless range of dates for the future. Unfortunately, expanding the date field from 2 to 4 digits has several downsides to it. The most obvious one is that in order to convert the dates, every program and database that references the data will have to be modified. These modifications are mostly manual labor and not an automated process.
Bridging programs are also a way to get around 2-digit dates. This type of solution is used to convert date data from one format to another. This will allow a system to convert 2-digit dates to 4-digit dates, as they are needed. This will also allow a business to have very little down time for year 2000 renovations. Instead of converting all of the data at one time, it may be converted gradually. This technique is very cost effective and easy to do. However, a bridge program has the potential to ruin a computer system. If the bridge is removed before all of the data is converted, the 2-digit dates may become mixed with 4-digit dates. This will create an even worse problem, which will then have to be addressed.
Reversing the system clock along with adding a 28 year time bridge is another way to fix the millenium bug. This approach will work for systems whose source codes are no longer available or cannot be replaced. This method involves reversing the system clock by 28 years and writing bridging scripts to add or subtract 28 years from the date data. The number is 28 because this offset retains the same days of the week and month. When 28 years are added to Saturday, January 1, 1972, it will generate Saturday, January 1, 2000. This will only work for periods that have a leap year every four years
“Date logic” is another common method for fixing the millennium bug. This procedure involves having a separate program to determine which millennium certain dates are in. For example, the program could determine that if the year ends between 00 and 20, the date is in the second millennium. If the year ends between 21 and 99, the date is in the first millennium. This technique avoids some of the massive changes and coordination associated with other approaches. There is also a downside to date logic routines. System performance may slow down with the extra step needed for each date to be processed.
Replacing the systems is probably the easiest method of solving the millenium bug. This method involves discarding old systems that are not Y2K ready and purchasing new systems that are Y2K ready. By doing this a business can eliminate the Y2K problem altogether. This method avoids the hassle of coming up with solutions to the problem, but presents the difficulties of starting from scratch. This solution should be considered if a company’s systems are too costly to fix, or if there are not very many systems that need to be fixed. Another idea that incorporates the replacement idea is for one company to merge with or buy another company that has Y2K compliant systems.
The last alternative is to do nothing to the current computer systems that a business uses. This is not the same as ignoring the millennium bug and hoping it will go away. Instead, it involves analyzing exactly what will happen to a company’s computer systems and determining that the effect Y2K will have is none or very little. Employees could then work around any damage or problems that may be caused and this alternative could work.
These and many more solutions are all available to companies to successfully get beyond the year 2000. However, the problem is enormous and the solutions are rather complicated. Our global society is now filled with millions of computers, with hundreds of billions of program instructions. It is estimated that there are over two billion lines of computer code that will need to be analyzed and corrected. There are simply not enough programmers in the world or enough time left to fix every line of computer code. Testing the solutions after they are implemented is also an important phase in the process. Testing the solutions is the only way to ensure that the millenium bug is fixed and a business will flow smoothly and problem free into the 21st century.
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