July 5, 1999
By Jim Burns
Assembled to help the campus prepare for operational problems that could result from the Year 2000 computer bug, a task force has prepared and distributed a template that units should use to evaluate their Y2K readiness.
The template, which provides a mechanism for offices across the campus to detail the Y2K efforts they have undertaken for "life support" and "mission critical" systems, was described in a June 23 memo from the task force to vice chancellors, deans, and other senior administrators.
"While UCSC staff have been identifying and mitigating Y2K risks for over two years, and many of the mission-critical systems have been fixed or certified, it is imperative that campus senior management have an overall view of our collective ability to conduct business during the change in the millennium," noted Pat LeCuyer, acting assistant vice chancellor for Communications & Technology Services (CATS) and chair of the task force.
Tom Vani, vice chancellor for Business & Administrative Services, established the campus's Y2K Task Force earlier this year.
At UCSC and elsewhere, the primary Y2K exposure comes from the decades-old industry standard of using two instead of four digits for year representation within computer programs, files, databases, and logic boards. For example, the year 1999 is represented by '99.' On January 1, 2000, however, the computer-represented date of 01/01/00 might be interpreted as January 1, 1900, causing computer programs that perform arithmetic operations, comparisons, or sorting of date fields to yield incorrect results.
In the memo from UCSC's Y2K Task Force, senior officers are asked to designate one person to coordinate the reporting of information from their division. Unit-level templates are to be combined into one report that each senior officer would submit to the task force. Campus reporting is to be done in two phases: The first is due on July 23 and should include information on all systems that meet the criteria for life support or mission critical; the second report, due on September 3, will include all systems identified in the first report plus any newly identified systems that are vulnerable to Y2K breakdowns.
The June 23 memo, template, instructions, and other information can be found at the task force web site.
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