Rubik cube whiz kid offers millennium bug solution
February 22, 1999
LONDON (Reuters) - A man who solved the riddle of Rubik's cube has invented a test kit to detect where the millennium computer bug will strike.
At the age of 12, Patrick Bossert shot to fame when he worked out his own solution to the mystifying cube and wrote a bestseller about it that sold 1.5 million copies.
Now 30, he and a team of software experts at London-based WSP Business Technology have developed Delta-T Probe, a program that can work out whether microchips embedded in electronic equipment are likely to fail on January 1, 2000.
Delta-T works by electronically detecting equipment to identify chips that process date and time, making it likely to malfunction when 1999 becomes 2000.
"Only a small percentage of systems will fail to recognize the next millennium, but finding out which ones might go wrong is a huge and costly process," said Bossert, technical director at WSP Business Technology, a unit of consulting engineering group WSP Group Plc.
Bossert estimates hundreds of millions of chips are buried deep inside equipment in Britain. The chips control devices such as security systems, fire alarms, production lines, medical equipment and telecommunications.
Bossert expects one in 500 embedded systems will take equipment back in time to Jan. 1, 1900, causing equipment to fail.
British supermarket chain Sainsbury's Plc is among major companies that have tested Delta-T. Sainsbury's said a trial run at one of its stores in Devon, southwestern England, had been a success.
Copyright 1999 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.
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