Why the Century Date Change Occurred so Smoothly
Although nearly all programmers knew that using two digits to represent years would cause difficulties in the year 2000, repairs in most cases were postponed until the late 1990s. If equipment had not been repaired, world trade and the global economy would have been seriously disrupted. Many people might have died as a result of chemical or nuclear spills or the failure of urban infrastructure. Once the seriousness of the problem was understood, governments, corporations, and associations around the world acted to repair equipment and to prepare for possible disruptions. Although repairs could have been made in the normal process of upgrades, because repairs were not made until time was extremely short, correcting the year 2000 computer problem became the largest technical project in human history. It was the largest management challenge since World War II and the largest example of peacetime cooperation in history. Because the year 2000 computer problem became a multi-disciplinary threat and required a multidisciplinary solution, it provides an ideal example for illustrating principles and methods from the systems sciences (Umpleby, 1999).
KeywordsEurope Transportation Hunt Blindness Iridium
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