US and 12 Countries Work Together for Leap Year Problemsgreenspun.com : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread
U.S. Gets Ready for Leap Day Computer Problems
Searching your memory banks, you will recall that for your PC to be completely ready for Y2K, it had to know about leap years. And, that through a mathematical anomaly occurring only once every 400 years, 2000 is a leap year. Lucky us.
Come midnight next Monday Feb. 28 the date on your PC will either become "leap day," Tuesday Feb. 29 or some other date, which will be absolutely wrong.
Needless to say, failure of key government computer systems to recognize leap day would be, could be, just as devastating as if they had simply melted down on Jan. 1, 2000.
To prevent or at least keep track of leap year computer problems, the United States and up to twelve other countries will work as a team according to John Koskinen, President Clinton's top Y2K technology aid.
At a Washington, D.C. press conference on Thursday, Koskinen referred to leap day as "a real issue that we feel obligated to keep track of."
Koskinen downplayed the possibility of major system failures due to already completed Y2K preparations that included leap year compliance checks.
"If there are difficulties in many cases it will result in minor or modest glitches that can be remedied quickly if people catch it quickly," said Koskinen.
Starting early Feb. 28, Y2K computer experts from the U.S., Britain, Bulgaria, Chile, Gambia, Iceland, Japan, Mexico, Morocco, the Netherlands, South Korea, and possibly Australia and New Zealand will hold conference calls every eight hours through March 1. Also in on the calls will be Y2K coordinators of the International Y2K Cooperation Center of the World Bank.
The information coordination center set up by the Clinton administration to deal with the Y2K century change will be used again for the leap year effort, but only about half as many federal employees will be needed.
In a follow-up press conference scheduled for March 1, John Koskinen will detail any leap year problems encountered and announce plans for the future use of the $50 million worth of custom computer systems built for the Y2K command center.
-- Jen Bunker (email@example.com), February 28, 2000