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Baylor ready for Y2K

Nov. 19, 1998

BY JEFF SCHELDT

Reporter

Jeff_Scheldt@baylor.edu

Baylor's critical computer systems are set to avoid the impending year 2000 computerized doomsday that has the world worried, according to a Baylor computer official.

'Y2K has come to mean the whole of range of problems that may occur come Jan. 1, 2000, when computers don't handle the four digit-year correctly,' said Becky King, associate director for information systems in Baylor's Information Technology Center.

'Baylor has been working since early 1997 at reviewing our mission critical information systems, those most important to the university's functions,' King said. 'All but two of these vital systems are not compliant.'

These systems include those which hold student information and financial information.

'Over Thanksgiving, we're going to update our student information system,' King said. 'This stores all the information on students from the time when they're a prospect through graduation.'

The old financial systems, which are due to be replaced regardless of the new century, will not be upgraded with new software until June 1, 1999, King said.

'In some ways Y2K is a blessing in disguise,' said Dave Cunningham, program manager for the year 2000 for Dell Computers in Austin. 'Some businesses that have been using older software systems and have patching them up will have to upgrade.'

ITC is working to ensure the systems will work properly.

'Over the next year, we will be testing systems that are compliant,' King said.

Some systems on campus will not be corrected before the turn of the century. Fax machines, older computers, copy machines and other less important systems will be fixed after problems occur, King said. Students will be affected.

'Imbedded systems, such as microwaves, security alarms, pagers and car alarms which are controlled by microchips, can't be fixed. They must be replaced,' King said.

A call to the manufacturer will help to determine if the system must be replaced, Cunningham said.

'Students need to take a careful look to see if their own systems are compatible,' Cunningham said.

King said our biggest concern should be for government computers which allocate funds for student loans and social security.

Most government agencies, however, 'have identified their critical systems' and are preparing to avoid any Y2K crisis, Cunningham said.

According to King, communication is key.

'We need to avoid any form of mass hysteria,' she said. 'Life will go on.'

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