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Category: Noncompliant_Chips

(feel free to mail this page)

(Links to documents appear after the summary.)

In the computer field, this problem is called "embedded systems." This is the computer chip that is hard-wired -- soldered or whatever -- into the computer. On the chip is a "burned in" program. That is, the chip contains its own instructions.

The problem here should be obvious: if a chip has its program embedded into it, the program cannot be revised by software. It has to be replaced by a chip that is 2000-compliant.

No one knows how many noncompliant chips there are. If the percentage of noncompliant chips is the same as the percentage of noncompliant lines of code in COBOL programs, then between 5% and 10% of all chips are noncompliant. This is a standard estimate.

The problem is: nobody knows which 5% to 10% is noncompliant. All chips must be tested, one by one, system by system. This is not possible in the time remaining. So, we must hope for the best.

In 1996, over 7 billion microprocessors were sold. It was 3.5 billion in 1995.

The testing problem is beyond the ability of organizations to conduct. But assume that testing identifies bad chips. They must be replaced, assuming that compliant chips for each application have come onto the market. One by one, bad chips must be carefully removed and replaced.

Another problem: chips are in satellites. Want to replace them?

The problem of embedded systems is basic to microcomputers. This is not a strictly mainframe problem. Also, microcomputers feed data into mainframe computers. What happens to the bad data from noncompliant microcomputers when they are fed into compliant mainframes (if any)? Presto: we have a noncompliant mainframe. So much for the costs of becoming compliant. (See the category, "Compliance.")

Want to fire a nuclear missile with embedded chips? No? Then what happens if Red China gets really pushy? Or really grabby? (See the category, "Military.")

(Other categories: "Compliance," "Personal Computers," "Domino Effect," "Power Grid," "Too Late?")

Updated - Subject

21-May-97   Embedded Systems: Chips with Y2K Failure Built In
05-Jun-97   Dead Engines in Fire Trucks
10-Jun-97   How Widespread Is This Problem? Very.
10-Jun-97   How Important Is This Problem? Very.
11-Jun-97   BAT Industries Sounds the Alarm
25-Jun-97   Chips Older Than 3 Years Are Almost Impossible to Replace
27-Jun-97   50 Million Devices Will Produce Anomalies
28-Jun-97   Vulnerable Systems: PBX Telecommunications
28-Jul-97   How Electrical Systems Can Go Haywire
12-Aug-97   National Science Foundation Sounds a Warning
14-Aug-97   This Problem Is Being Ignored
14-Aug-97   Oil Industry Begins to Wake Up: Late
22-Aug-97   Worse Than the Mainframe Problem, Says Specialist
25-Aug-97   A Catastrophe Looms, Says Y2K Expert
25-Aug-97   Crucial Systems Are Hard to Repair
28-Aug-97   This Is the Biggest Unknown of Y2K, Says Specialist
28-Aug-97   The "Guardians of Our Lives" May Fail
16-Sep-97   Nuclear Regulatory Commission Warns FDA
17-Sep-97   Letter Summarizes the Embedded Chip Problem
25-Sep-97   One-Fifth of Britain's Systems May Go Down
02-Oct-97   It's Worse: Beyond Previous Estimates
10-Oct-97   Testing Chips May Be More Work Than Locating Bad Ones
22-Oct-97   Knoxville, Tennessee, Faces Embedded Chips Problem
22-Oct-97   Questions for Utility Company Engineers: Embedded Chips
24-Oct-97   Britain Lacks Engineers Familiar With the Problem
24-Oct-97   What Could Go Wrong? Just About Everything
25-Oct-97   Warning from the State of Idaho
27-Oct-97   The Threat to the Power Industry
30-Oct-97   Oil Drilling Rigs: Filled With Embedded Chips
03-Nov-97   Rate for Significant Problems: 5% to 50%
03-Nov-97   A Very High-Risk Situation: Kappelman
04-Nov-97   If These Systems Are at Risk, Everything Is at Risk
08-Nov-97   The Threat Is Total, Gartner Group Tells Congress
14-Nov-97   Leap Year Malfunction: One Small Company's $1 Million Loss
14-Nov-97   Editor Says There Will Be Few Problems
14-Nov-97   Widespread Problem, Difficult Solution, Says Joint Announcement
14-Nov-97   50 Million Points of Darkness
14-Nov-97   Manufacturers Are Flying Blind into a Disaster
14-Nov-97   Minnesota Lists Problem Areas for Repairing Systems
01-Dec-97   Diesel Locomotives and Cars: Forced Maintenance Chips
01-Dec-97   A Corporate Disaster Recovery Plan Is Vital
01-Dec-97   Warning from Expert: Huge Risk to the Public
02-Dec-97   Programmer Warns of Disaster, Calls on Others to Get This Fixed
03-Dec-97   Warning from a Power Company's Y2K Project Manager
04-Dec-97   Early Test: Down Goes the Building's Automatic Lighting System
08-Dec-97   Electrical Utility in England Admits the Problem
08-Dec-97   Alaska Pipeline: A Gigantic Frozen Candlestick?
10-Dec-97   A Programmer's Response on Embedded Chips: "Show Me!"
10-Dec-97   Examples of Vulnerable Systems: Steel Plant, Pipeline, Refinery,
11-Dec-97   "Compliant" Oil Company Is Still at Risk
27-Dec-97   The Impossible Task: Replacing All the Bad Chips
27-Dec-97   19 Companies That Specialize in Embedded Chip Solutions
31-Dec-97   The Crisis in Manufacturing Will Begin in Late 1999, Says Expert
10-Jan-98   New York State Agencies Have Just Srtarted Looking for Bad Chips
10-Jan-98   New York State's Huge List of Threatened Chip Systems
14-Jan-98   Electrical Industry Journal Warns: This One Is the Killer
14-Jan-98   Chip Failures That Have Already Taken Place: Examples
16-Jan-98   Factory Systems Are Being Ignored
20-Jan-98   British Firms: One-Third Have Completed Audit
22-Jan-98   90% of Chips Go Into Embedded Systems
04-Feb-98   Deadline: 9-9-99
05-Feb-98   50% to 80% Chance That Safety Systems Will Fail, Says Report
07-Feb-98   Water Systems at Risk: Electronically Frozen Valves
11-Feb-98   Minnesota Acknowledges That a Breakdown Is Possible
11-Feb-98   Three Myths About Embedded Chips
17-Feb-98   Prototype of Machine That Will Test Embedded Chips
03-Mar-98   25 Billion Chips; $2.4 Trillion to Fix?
03-Mar-98   Self-Defense Against Lawyers, and Let Civilization Collapse!
09-Mar-98   80% of Problem Is Here
10-Mar-98   Mainline Media Report: 500 Million Bad Chips
11-Mar-98   Old PC's Run Large Manufacturing Plants
11-Mar-98   Water and Sewer Systems at Risk
21-Mar-98   Washington State and Embedded Chips
07-Apr-98   The Threat to the Energy Industry: Oil
20-Apr-98   94% of Firms Haven't Checked for Embedded Chip Problems
28-Apr-98   Florida Power & Light: Bad News
30-Apr-98   Empty High Rise Buildings
04-May-98   Energy Industry: Only 30% Remediation of Bad Chips by 2000
08-May-98   30 Tests Per Repaired System
14-May-98   Tall Buildings, Shorthanded Repair Teams
16-May-98   Unreplaceable Chips Threaten Manufacturing Businesses
23-May-98   Companies Fail to Warn Clients; Lawyers' Strategy
27-May-98   You Can't Test Noncomplant Chips: Shutdown
28-May-98   Y2K Czar Fakes the Math; Reporter Says It's OK
29-May-98   Shell Describes Its Embedded Chip Problem
01-Jun-98   40 Billion Chips: Latest Estimate
03-Jun-98   Long List of Threatened Systems
08-Jun-98   Rolls Royce Chairman Dismisses Problem Re: Manufacturing
10-Jun-98   Sewers: Up the Creek Without a Paddle
12-Jun-98   World Bank's Links to Sites on Embedded Systems

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