Financial Update (October-December 1996)

Fed Computer Systems and the Year 2000

The Fed is addressing how to manage the turn of the century on its computer systems.

he turn of the century poses numerical date challenges for many computer systems. Like businesses worldwide, the Fed is addressing a problem that stems from years of computer coding practices that excluded the first two digits (century) of the year. This lack of century recognition in computer code could cause problems when relating files to dates: for example, 01 could be read by a system as 1901 instead of 2001. To resolve these types of date-related computer problems the Fed has begun a project to ensure that its computer systems will be capable of handling the change of date at the turn of the century.

A task force has been formed to develop and coordinate strategies for assessing how well Federal Reserve systems currently comply with century date processing standards. The task force will also address where system changes will be needed and will define a strategy for making the necessary changes. The Fed expects to develop a project plan by the end of the year that will include when the required changes will be scheduled and tested.

The evaluation of the impact that the century date change will have on Federal Reserve computer systems encompasses a broad range of activities, including business applications, services, and electronic access methods (such as Fedline and Computer Interface). The evaluation will also focus on all vendor-supplied operating systems, software, and hardware. These elements, and their interfaces relative to the century date change, are important segments of the project.

The Federal Reserve will continue to provide depository financial institutions with timely information about software changes and testing when required.

Return to Index