Iowa State University

Inside Iowa State
January 8, 1999

Year 2000 may pose problems for researchers

by Diana Pounds

Whether your research makes use of a brand name statistical package or a custom-developed computer program, you may face data problems when the year 2000 rolls around.

Researchers should check their software and computer programs for potential Y2K problems as soon as possible, says Computation Center system analyst Jeff Balvanz. "That will give them more time to work out fixes, if they're necessary."

The ISU Y2K Web page ( provides information on two popular statistical programs -- SAS and SPSS. For example, SAS version 6.12 for both Macintosh and Windows will work properly after the year 2000 rollover, Balvanz said. However, SAS for MS-DOS 6.03 and 6.04 will not work and should be replaced.

SPSS should handle the year 2000 properly, although those who have been using two-digit dates for the year may have to specify some special settings on their software, Balvanz added.

"Those who are using a custom-designed program should check the program carefully to determine if there are Y2K problems. If so, they may need to cobble up a program to convert the data," Balvanz said.

If you have questions or concerns about how the Y2K problem may affect your research, check with your departmental Y2K coordinator.

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