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1997-11-24 15:05:53


Typical Irish Bank: 30,000 Programs, 30 Million Lines of Code



Irish bankers did not begin to perceive the y2k problem until 1997. Now they have to fix their systems -- systems as large as the U.S. Social Security System was supposed to be; it turns out to be twice as large -- back in 1989, when SSA discovered the problem. SSA's core code of 33 million lines is not yet compliant.

What if the article is correct -- that U.S. banks have three times as much code? This may be true of larger banks.

This story appeared in the IRISH TIMES (Nov. 21).

* * * * * * *

"There were 30-year-old systems owned by banks which were being run by 24-year-old programmers," says Mr Stanley-Smith. Piercom designed software which could go in and analyse the source code - the lines of computer code which tell a computer system how to operate - then chart the system and analyse the data. While subcontracting on a project for IBM in the mid-1990s, Piercom was analysing a large system used for aircraft maintenance. "While working on the system I suddenly realised it wasn't going to work in the year 2000," says Mr Stanley-Smith.

Although the problem was known, even information technology specialists seemed only halfaware of the consequences. Piercom's legacy systems tools served as the basis for a Year 2000 tool which could go in and analyse code to find dates. They waited for the phones to ring off the hook. No such luck - the alarming level of apathy which still affects companies about this global crisis was even worse then.

"I spent '94 to '96 crying in the wilderness," he says.

That's all changed now. . . .

The average Irish bank has 30,000 programs on its computers, with 30 million lines of code; US banks have three times that amount.


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