Follow us on Instagram
Try our daily mini crossword
Play our latest news quiz
Download our new app on iOS/Android!

University encounters only small Y2K computer glitches

Most of the world escaped serious complications from the much-discussed millennium bug, and the University was no exception.

Campus personnel reported yesterday only minor problems that were fixed by mid-afternoon Saturday "Everything went smoothly, but I'm glad we prepared," said Director of Engineering Tom Nyquist. "We had to be prepared just in case something serious really did go wrong. We couldn't just spend New Year's Eve celebrating."


By New Year's Eve, all of the planned Y2K preparations were complete, and University officials spent the evening in Stanhope Hall, the utilities plant and in the makeshift University Y2K contingency team command center in East Pyne CIT personnel disconnected all University servers and computers from the Internet to protect systems from potential hacker attacks at 11 p.m. Dec. 31 and kept them disconnected until 6:00 a.m. Jan. 1, CIT official David Koehler said.

"We had staff around campus to monitor the servers and mainframe on New Year's, to make sure the transition was smooth," he said.

Minor problems

Nevertheless, some of the larger University record-keeping systems and payroll systems did experience some minor problems, according to Koehler.

"A few record reports that we ran said the report had been run in 1900," he said. "Some other programs didn't get quite the right numbers when we made calculations and when we tested some boundary cases."

Koehler said the majority of the problems were corrected a few hours after midnight, and the few remaining glitches were fixed by CIT personnel the following day. "We could have probably done all those things Monday morning, so our only over-preparation probably was having people come in over the weekend," he said. "It was good they came in, though, because it meant Princeton could be open for business as usual Monday morning."

Koehler said he had expected the Y2K bug to cause some problems for University systems. "We thought it might be a whole lot bigger than it actually was, but things went a lot better than we were led to believe," he said. By midnight, the University cogeneration facility was providing nearly all the power consumed by the campus, according to Nyquist. As a precautionary measure, the plant – which usually burns natural gas – had been set to burn oil, he said.


"The gas system uses compressors to pump fuel in, and those compressors might not have been Y2K-compliant," he said Public Safety Crime Prevention Specialist Barry Weiser said the smooth transition to 2000 meant Public Safety officers had a relatively quiet New Year's. "Things went as we had hoped," he said. "A lot of people put in a lot of overtime on this one."

Get the best of ‘the Prince’ delivered straight to your inbox. Subscribe now »