The Origin of the Y2K Bug

1890 Herman Hollerith invents electric census machine, record medium used is punched cards. Hollerith forms company that later becomes IBM

1945 Mauchley & Eckert build first digital computer ENIAC and first commercial computer UNIVAC. Both run on Hollerith cards

1957 Grace Murray Hopper(a Naval Officer) creates first computer language (in plain English) called Flow-matic. 2 years later it becomes basis for COBOL ***to save precious room on Hollerith cards years are abbreviated to two digits*** 1957 becomes 57

1960 Robert Bemer (and 47 fellow computer scientists) begin lobbying for 4 year dates, fearing problems 40 years in future.

1964 IBM successfully produces System/360 mainframe refusing to use 4 digit dates.

1967 To settle the debate the White House orders the National Bureau of Standards to set a standard. Pressured by the Pentagon the NBS retains the 2 year date.

From American National Standards manual:

2.3 Year shall be represented as four digits with the option of omitting the two high order digits (commonly referred to as century) as required in applications where century is to implied.

1979 Bemer publishes prediction of Y2K crisis with little industry reaction. Bemer retires 3 years later.

1993 NORAD becomes curious and turn their computers clocks forward to 1-1-2000. ICBM alert system crashes.

1995 IBM finally admits Y2K bug exists. Promises to help their customers correct problem.

1996 The Congressional Research Service writes first report on Y2K. Senator D. P. Moynihan warns Clinton of "Year 2000 Time bomb"