Historical Issue

As Y1K Looms, Mathematicians Raise Concern About Abacus Malfunctions

PERSIA — Is your abacus safe from Y1K? Over the past few months, mathematicians have been worrying about the technological implications of the upcoming change of millennium. Abaci, which famously depend on the date to carry out calculations, could be at risk. They’re concerned that countless unprepared abaci will be subject to bizarre glitches when the date changes from December 31, 999 to January 1, 1000. 

World governments are concerned that the unreliability of abaci will disrupt the global financial system, which currently relies on ultra-low-frequency trading algorithms. As many as two goods or services are being exchanged at any given moment, taking up a majority of the abacus beads not being used to count the date. 

As mathematician Abu Sahl al-Quhi explained, “The Y1K problem is not caused by a lack of Abacus beads. We simply forgot to make enough beads..” 

“It really just crept up on us,” agreed civil servant Abu Ishaq al-Sabi, who was with al-Quhi at the time.