|No Significant Leap Year Computer Problems Reported
International Y2K Cooperation Center Goes "Virtual"
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The center created under the auspices of the United Nations with World Bank funding to minimize global Y2K impacts reported no significant computer problems during the leap year date change.
"We did not expect any significant problems with the leap year date and there were none," said Bruce W. McConnell, director of the International Y2K Cooperation Center (IY2KCC). "Today marks the successful end of our work."
Some had expressed concern that many computers would not recognize 2000 as a leap year and could malfunction. Through six conference calls over two days with national and regional Y2K coordinators from every continent, the IY2KCC monitored the leap year date change. Less than two dozen problems were reported, all of them minor. Problems included incorrect date displays on cellular phones (Morocco), on caller-ID boxes (US), and on airline baggage tags (US); temporary interruptions in service at a few automatic teller machines (Japan) and in transmitting weather data to the media (Netherlands); inability to schedule doctors appointments in a handful of doctors' offices (UK); inability of a few merchants to verify credit card data (New Zealand); and, inability to enter correct expiration dates on new passports (Bulgaria). All problems were corrected within hours.
McConnell said most of the leap year fixes were made as part of earlier Y2K remediation efforts. He cautioned there could still be minor Y2K problems generating quarterly or annual reports, and in systems that are only operated on a contingency or backup basis. "Minor glitches will continue to occur. Most of them will never become public because they will be fixed by their owners," McConnell predicted.
McConnell noted that the IY2KCC has closed its physical offices, but would remain open in cyberspace until the end of March. The Center's website, http://www.iy2kcc.org, will remain online for two years to serve as a resource for researchers. "We are in discussions with the U.N., the World Bank, and the national Y2K coordinators to find ways of using the international network of government technology officials created under this program to solve other international technology problems." McConnell promised an announcement on that front later in the month.
Y2K refers to computer and automated control system malfunctions that would have occurred when the year changed from 1999 to 2000 if the systems had not been fixed. Many computers and automated systems were engineered to handle only two-digit date formats, and would have made mistakes or stopped working when they encountered "00" in the date field.
The IY2KCC was established in February 1999 under United Nations auspices with World Bank funding in response to the need to coordinate efforts to update computer and automated control systems around the world to transition smoothly to the year 2000.