All submarine systems "go" at international date line

The 180 man crew of the USS Topeka nuclear attack submarine sailed theircomputer systems without a glitch into the new millennium at theconjunction of the international date line and the equator in the firstreal test in the world of the ability of computer systems to survive the clockroll over in the new century.

The Topeka surfaced at the dateline shortly before midnight there (7 a.m. EST,Dec. 31), with no problems in its four servers powering networks with atotal of 60 terminals or workstations, according to electronics chief MikeMiller. Miller— who called FCW from an Iridium cell while standing in thesub's sail—said the Topeka had set those servers to local time two daysearlier "to make sure we could make the cross over.''

Miller—speaking under a clear night sky marked by both the North Star andthe Southern Cross—said the two Windows NT servers, one Novell server anda Unix server onboard the Topeka functioned flawlessly during theclock roll over. The sub's global positioning system (GPS) navigationequipment also performed the roll over without a glitch, Miller added.

This submarine, like all Navy assets, underwent thorough testing longbefore deployment to ensure it would be ready for the now infamous Year 2000 bug.

"We have undergone exhaustive, relentless testing, and Topeka was probablyone of the safest places to be for Y2K. It's a testament to thepreparedness effort of my great crew and in fact to everyone involved in theNavy'seffort," said Commander Mark Patton, the sub's commanding officer.

The Navy actually started working the Year 2000 challenge as early as 1996. Whatdeveloped was the most sweeping, comprehensive testing package in theNavy's history. It included operational evaluations around the world andfunctional end-to-end testing of all Navy systems.

The Topeka's unique position at the conjunction of the dateline and theequator will allow the crew to enjoy the phenomenon of experiencingdifferent hours, days and months just by shifting position's on the sub'srounded deck— an opportunity the entire crew will enjoy as night turnsinto day, according to Patton."We've been submerged for 40 days, and the crew will appreciate the chanceto see the sun,'' Patton said.


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