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1997-11-17 10:21:24


Major Y2K Problem-Solving Seminar Is Cancelled: 3 Attendees



A New York City seminar on solving the y2k problem was cancelled by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers in late October. There was no interest. The IEEE asks why not.

At this late date, there should be widespread awareness of the problem. Apparently, there isn't. Yet awareness is phase one: 1% of the overall y2k repair project, says the California White Paper.

Draw your own conclusions.

* * * * * * *

The New York Section of IEEE scheduled a seminar with the title "Are You Ready for the Year 2000?" to be held on Wednesday, October 29. As of the evening of Thursday, October 23, we had three (3) people signed up. What went wrong?

The subject is discussed all over the world, on TV, radio, in newspapers, magazines, etc. Promotion of the seminar was published in IEEE magazines with worldwide distribution, in the IEEE Monitor, the sections newsletter, etc. Direct mailing, as well as e-mail and fax was used. Still just a few people showed interest.

A minority thinks that the year 2000 computer dating (!) is a problem, while the majority thinks that it can be fixed before the end of the year 1999. This means that these persons are ignorant of the problem with having "99" assigned to mean "not known," or something like that, and not specifically date related. Thus, in those cases, the problem occurs at the end of 1998--14 months from now.

Surveys reveal that over half of the community is not working on fixing the year 2000 problem. The response to our seminar invitation indicates that it is more than that. The entities that have not yet started working on fixing the year 2000 problem will not be able to fix it in 14, or even 26 months. Concerned entities will not be able to find enough programmers to work for them. Studies indicate that this is a $600 billion problem engaging millions of programmers worldwide.

Considering that this is an engineering problem, we know that engineering projects are overrun at about 50 percent of the time. In the case of the year 2000 problem, there is no leeway--it has to be fixed before midnight on December 31, 1999, or in some cases before midnight of December 31, 1998. Thus, at least half of the world will not be prepared for the new millennium.

Chief Executive Officers, CEOs, should not count on being able to find programmers in the last minute. Not even from the pool of programmers in India. The major problem is in fixing COBOL programs and the Indians do not know much COBOL after their government threw out IBM. Also, the Indians will be busy working for the Europeans and others, who are behind most nations in fixing the year 2000 problem.


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