Y2K Glossary

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Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition, the type of computerized hardware and software systems used to monitor and regulate the machinery involved in physical processes, from manufacturing to power generation to rail transportation. Thought to be especially troublesome to fix for Y2K because of the variety and wide geographic distribution of many components.


The United States Social Security Administration, whose Y2K remediation task was one of the most massive in the federal government, and was famously begun in 1990. (Implying, of course, that any other large organization that started later was probably toast.)


The End Of The World As We Know It, shorthand for a predicted calamity involving the breakdown of society, whether due to Y2K or any other perceived threat.


Something or someone certain to fall victim to the effects of Y2K.


The process of assessing which of an organization’s systems are mission-critical and must be fixed before Y2K, vs. those that are less essential and can be set aside until after the rollover, given the impossibility of fixing them all.


The Washington DC Year 2000 Group, a group of programmers, IT managers, and others involved in Y2K remediation. Their meetings featured speakers from various branches of government, the banking sector, and other industry leaders. They also ran a regular survey of members’ assessment of Y2K’s impact, summarized here.


A simple and effective, if imperfect, solution to fixing Y2K bugs in software code: continue to use two digits to store years, but have the program make an assumption about which century a year falls in. For example, a year from “00” to “50” would be assumed to be 2000 through 2050, while “51” through “99” would be considered 1951 through 1999. The actual window used would depend on the type of data involved.


One of Cory Hamasaki’s DC Weather Reports about Y2K.

Yardeni, Edward

A well-known economist who was one of the few mainstream figures to openly discuss the likelihood of serious Y2K problems. Notably, he predicted a 70% chance of a global recession.

Yourdon, Ed

A computer programmer, author, and respected IT pundit whose book (co-authored with his daughter Jennifer) Time Bomb 2000: What the Year 2000 Computer Crisis Means to You! was the first book, and the most popular, to examine the possible effects of the Y2K bug. An accompanying online discussion forum generated tens of thousands of posts, and provides much of the material for On This Day Pre-Y2K.

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