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'Y2K' Follow-up Report

The CERN Y2K co-ordinator, S. Jarp (IT Division), reported that CERN had not encountered any significant problems with the Y2K bug at the turn of the century, although a couple of real Y2K problems had occurred, which had been quickly resolved. That outcome had been possible thanks to a programme of concerted action over several months discussed and agreed by the Management Board in February 1999, which had included a complete shutdown of the Computer Centre as the cheapest, safe stand most efficient option. Following the closure of systems on 30 December to avoid the potential risks associated with operations spanning 1999 and 2000, user services had been successfully brought back up on 2 January with only a few minor hitches, ready for the re-opening of the Laboratory on 3 January. He stressed that, in spite of claims by the world's press that Y2K dangers had been greatly exaggerated, the efforts made had been fully justified since, without them, the Organisation would have been faced with a flood of computing problems on the first working day of the year which could have taken months to resolve. Furthermore, in staying within existing manpower and budget limits, CERN had kept Y2K costs very low compared to the amounts invested in the private sector. An added benefit of the exercise for the Organisation was that systems had been updated and upgraded in the process so that it was starting the new millennium on a much better basis than would otherwise have been the case.

The Management Board extended thanks to S. Jarp and everyone else involved in the action taken to minimise the impact of the Y2K problem at CERN. A written report is to be presented to it for a closer assessment of the results.

Outcome of the Meetings of the Scientific Policy Committee, the Finance Committee, the Committee of Council and the Council in December 1999

The Director-General reviewed the highlights of the December meetings of the Council and its committees1, on which he had reported in his talk to the CERN staff on 11 January. At its one-hundred-and-fourteenth session on 17 December, the Council had approved the 2000 draft budget of 1022 MCHF and, in accordance with its 1996 Resolution concerning the construction and financing of the LHC, a 1% indexation of the Member States' contributions with a further 1% indexation for the Host States. The Council had further approved with effect from 1st January 2000 a 1.292% salary adjustment and, on the pensions side, a 1.3% adjustment of pensions, fixed benefits and allowances as well as a partnership agreement with the International Science and Technology Centre (ISTC), Moscow, covering the production of some 40,000 crystals for the electromagnetic calorimeter of CMS. It had also taken note of voluntary contributions to LEP 2000 by the United Kingdom and Israel of 3.0 MCHF and 0.3 MCHF respectively, bringing total contributions to the project to 19.5 MCHF. The CERN Neutrinos to Gran Sasso (CNGS) Facility had been approved at a costof 71 MCHF. The project is to be financed by Italy via INFN (about two+thirds of the cost) and by further special contributions from Germany, Spain, Belgium and France, with CERN contributing the remaining part out of the fixed-target budget line. Civil engineering work is due to start in August 2000 and the two experimental proposals, ICANOE and OPERA, are to be finalised and decided by September 2000.

The Finance Committee had adjudicated several important award-of-contract proposals for the LHC and had discussed an oral status report on technology transfer, which was to be followed up by an annual written report in March.

Report on Recent Changes in IT Division

The Management Board took note of a report on the recent restructuring exercise in the Information Technology (IT) Division by its Leader, M. Delfino, who gave details of the resulting organisation of the division for the year 2000, the 2000 divisional draft budget and the projected evolution of the staff complement in the period 2000-2006. Outlining the strategic objectives for the year ahead, he pointed to the need to continue understanding real costs, prepare the divisional structure for scheduled staff reductions and future challenges, continue divisional projects as a basis for future progress, and make the division more attractive to the people called upon to use its services, communicate with it on services and technologies and collaborate with it on a broad range of subjects.

Presentation of the New ETT Division

The Management Board further took note of an extensive presentation by J. A. Rubio, Leader of the new Education and Technology Transfer (ETT) Division set up on 1st January 2000, covering the terms of reference, tasks and organisation of the division and the highlights of its scheduled programme of activities for 2000. ETT Division's purpose is to demonstrate and communicate to Society at large, in co-operation with the collaborating institutes, the scientific results achieved by the CERN programme, their cultural and educational implications, as well as the technologies and methods developed in the accomplishment of the Organisation's basic mission.

Under the responsibility of the Director for Technology Transfer and Scientific Computing (TTSC), H. Hoffmann, the new division is to comprise eight individual services, namely: Scientific Information, Technology Transfer, Intellectual Property Rights, Web Public Education, Press and Publications, Visits and Exhibitions, Document Handling, and New Projects and Administration. There will also be an outreach team including high-level scientists, which will take responsibility for the contents of Communication and Public Education activities. The Division Leader will act as Technology Transfer Co-ordinator and head of the Industry and Technology Liaison Office (ITLO) and will have close links with the Co-ordinators for Relations with the European Union and with Research Organisations in Europe, who report directly to the TTSC Director.

1 See also front-page report in Weekly Bulletin No. 3/2000, 'CERN Confronts the New Millennium with Confidence'