Georgetown University has identified troubles related to the “Millennium Bug,” or the Y2K problem, and is well on its way to fixing them, according to Dave Lambert, vice president for Information Services. The Year 2000 Program Office, directed by Suzanne Spitzer, has been dealing with how this problem will effect Georgetown. “We feel confidently as a University that we have started the plan soon enough,” said Lambert. Because most computer programs allocate only two digit places in the memory to keep track of years-thus 1998 is stored as `98′-the year 2000 will be read as `00′, or 1900. This problem affects not only the millions of personal computers in private homes and businesses, but also the [electronic systems that run airplanes, banks, telecommunications and utilities]( The first step to addressing the Y2K problem, according to Lambert, was an inventory and identification of possible areas of concern through a comprehensive audit. The audit, conducted by the auditing firm of Coopers and Lybrand, began in Sept. 1997. The university’s systems were then divided up by priority. The highest priority, “core systems,” according to Lambert, included “things that pay our bills, make our budgets, admit students [and] track students.” The second group included personal computers and other “distributed technology” that is much more difficult to identify and fix, Lambert said. The university found that it was not possible to upgrade some of the core systems, such as student and financial systems, which therefore had to be replaced entirely. Student systems, those that deal with undergraduate and graduate school admissions, “went live” two weeks ago when the system upgrade went into effect, according to Lambert. The Financial systems are in the testing stage, and the General Ledger system, which deals with financial statements, spending and purchasing, is targeted to be online March 31, 1999, Lambert said. Approximately $9 million has been spent to upgrade the systems so far. The money for the individual upgrade programs was appropriated by the Board of Directors, Lambert said. In addition to upgrading and replacing the university’s own systems, the Year 2000 Program Office has also contacted vendors with whom the university does business to check the status of their own efforts. “We’re terribly vulnerable to things that could unfold outside our control,” Lambert said. In the event of an unexpected incident in 1999, such as an unprepared service provider or government office, Lambert said the university will just “roll up our shirt sleeves, move people around, get creative and solve the problem.” Students can find out what measures they might need to take by checking the Information Services web site at

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