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Y2K Efforts at CERN

  Sverre Jarp IT/DI


First a definition of the problem

To clarify what we mean by the "millennium bug", "year 2000 problem" or "Y2K bug" we have decided to use the definition from the British Standards Institution:

Year 2000 conformity shall mean that neither performance nor functionality 
is affected by dates prior to, during and after the year 2000. 
In particular: 
   Rule 1	No value for current date will cause any interruption in 
   Rule 2	Date-based functionality must behave consistently for  
		dates prior to, during and after year 2000. 
   Rule 3	In all interfaces and data storage, the century in any date  
		must be specified either explicitly or by unambiguous  
		algorithms or inferencing rules. 
   Rule 4	Year 2000 must be recognised as a leap year.


Situation at CERN

Here is a summary of how the problem is being tackled inside the Lab.

M. Metcalf published an initial CNL Article (CNL 228 - "The Millennium Bug") in the autumn of 1997 together with two related articles covering the issues with CERNLIB (DATIME) and ORACLE.

When M. Metcalf left for retirement I accepted to take over the coordination task at CERN. The first sign of activity from my side appeared in Bulletin 98/23, which summed up a presentation given to the Management Board on the 14th of May.

Currently there are activities on several fronts:


If you are responsible..

If you are responsible for a service (or a set of services) that may be impacted by the Y2K bug, here is what we recommend you do:


Other information sources

Fortunately CERN does not have to solve all of the Y2K problems in isolation. More and more information is, for instance, becoming available in the Web.

One good resource centre is the year 2000 product compliance list of the company MBS2000 ( for both Hardware and Software. EDS have established a relatively comprehensive vendor database (vendor2000). There are also references in the initial CNL Article (CNL 228).



The role of the overall Y2K coordinator

Finally one important notice. As the CERN-wide Y2K coordinator I see my role as two-fold:

NB: Each Division and each service provider remain fully responsible for ensuring that the necessary Y2K solutions are implemented.

Two related bulletins, No_1 and No_2, have been sent to all divisional coordinators and Division Leaders.

Don't hesitate to send comments, suggestions, worries, etc. directly to the author


For matters related to this article please contact the author.

Last Updated on December 14th, 1998 at 16:30:39
Copyright © CERN 1998 -- European Laboratory for Particle Physics