As the clock ticked down to the year 2000, computer scientists around the world were fretting about the so-called “Y2K bug,” which many feared would wreak havoc on our heavily computerized society. In the late 1990s, a computer program created by Rex Widmer, a computer science graduate in 1972, put many minds at ease. Widmer’s Portfolio Analyzer could quickly and efficiently locate lines of code that needed to be changed before the clock struck midnight on Jan. 1, 2000. The program could “munch through 100,000 programs – perhaps millions of lines of code – in a day,” he said in a 1998 interview. Unfortunately, Widmer never lived to see the success of his software. He died in a car accident in January 1999 while returning home to Shawnee Mission, Kansas, from a campus visit.

Share This Story

Spark a Memory?

Share your story! Fill out the form below to share your fondest memory or anecdote of S&T. If you'd prefer not typing, you can also share by phone at 833-646-3715 (833-Miner150).

Creating fashion for feet

Creating fashion for feet

When Darla Ellis, a 2006 graduate in chemical engineering, began a summer internship with Nike, Inc. during her senior year…

George Mueller: ensuring the ‘moonshot’

George Mueller: ensuring the ‘moonshot’

“We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things,” President John F. Kennedy said…

Jack Ridley: a humanist among engineers

Jack Ridley: a humanist among engineers

Jack Ridley, who won many teaching awards during his career, describes the circumstances he faced as a new...

Building a legacy of mechanical engineering

Building a legacy of mechanical engineering

A registered professional engineer, John Toomey, who earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mechanical engineering in 1949 and 1951, founded…

For the love of circuits

For the love of circuits

Emily Hernandez, who earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering in 2016, began recruiting minorities to STEM fields even before…

Builders of the bomb

Builders of the bomb

The U.S. government’s Manhattan Project, which led to the development of the first nuclear weapons, was a massive but highly…