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1997-11-20 08:39:19


Purdue: 12 Years, 80% Completion (Pre-Testing)



Purdue University, which is one of the most famous technical universities in the United States, has Millennium Bug problems. It can't seem to get student enrollments straight after 1999. Purdue is also the origin of a silver bullet, whose story made the media in 1996. Purdue developed a program to search for dates in its code to solve its own 2000 problems. The story mentions the product. Three companies have bought the tool. Purdue made $50,000 on the deal. So much for another briefly publicized silver bullet.

Purdue began its Year 2000 repair 12 years ago. It still is not finished. A spokesmen says they have completed 80% of the conversion. (Oklahoma State University began at about the same time, and is also at the 80% mark. See the May 6 posting in this category.)


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Today, Purdue is a model for other universities, corporations, and government agencies, according to experts on the "year-2000 problem," because it has managed to avoid spending millions of dollars in fixing the bug. . . .

Four full-time employees here scanned tens of thousands of lines of computer code and updated them for the millennium with a solution invented by a consultant who has worked at Purdue full-time for 12 years. So far, officials estimate that they have spent $450,000 on salaries for the workers, who have converted the code in about 80 per cent of the university's systems. By comparison, some other institutions have spent millions of dollars replacing their programs with entirely new systems, which won't crash when 1999 ends. And some institutions have done almost nothing, with little more than two years to go. . . .

The year-2000 software crunch comes at a time when universities are already dealing with a severe shortage of computer-staff members, a shortage caused in part by the private sector's raiding university computing offices for skilled workers capable of working on the millennium bug. The shortage makes many institutions wary of attempting a year-2000 fix themselves. . . .

Although most colleges and universities say they are on schedule to complete year-2000 repairs on existing systems or to install new software in time, officials predict that groggy revelers will wake up that January 1 to find plenty of problems. Some of the repairs, for instance, depend on software vendors' supplying fixes for their programs -- and the vendors may not come through. . . .


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