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PostPosted: Tue Sep 06, 2005 4:21 pm 
Site Admin

Joined: Sat Aug 27, 2005 1:01 pm
Posts: 90
We recently found a bug that would have incorrectly displayed results for certain sectors with letters in them (e.g., 1111B0). Sector numbers are always shown at the top of the displayed results screen (e.g., Sector #1111B0: Grain Farming).

Historically, the sector numbers used by the Department of Commerce contained only numbers. In 1997, they started adding letters to separate certain sectors. When consecutive sectors contain similar mixes of numbers and letters, the web site would incorrectly "match" a request for the second sector with the results from the first sector (for you computer geeks, this was caused by using a numerical comparison operator instead of a string comparison - thus it would match 1111B0 as 1111A0 since they are numerically the same). Note that the way this bug occurred, the results would have been wrong but would have otherwise appeared correct - you would have had no way of knowing it was wrong since it would have appeared to be for your requested sector.

The list of sectors that would have been subject to this bug are below:

1111B0: Grain farming (which would have shown results for 1111A0)
1119B0: All other crop farming (which would have shown results for 1119A0)
32121B: Engineered wood member and truss manuf. (would have shown 32121A)
611B00: Other educational services (would have shown 611A00)
621B00: Other ambulatory health care services (would have shown 621A00)
813B00: Civic, social, professional organizations (would have shown 813A00)

The following sectors all would have incorrectly matched with S00101 (Federal electric utilities):
S00102: Other Federal Government enterprises
S00201: State and local government passenger transit
S00202: State and local government electric utilities
S00203: Other State and local government enterprises
S00500: General government industry
S00700: Inventory valuation adjustment
S00800: Owner-occupied dwellings
Our web logs suggest that less than 0.01% of users chose any of these sectors combined (suggesting that it is unlikely you were affected). In fact, several of these sectors had NEVER been used! If you are unsure whether your results were affected, just re-run them. If they look the same, your sector was not affected.

Regardless of whether you were affected, we wanted to note the discovery and correction of this bug, and apologize to those of you who may have been affected. Luckily, the EIO-LCA model delivers fast results and your results can be updated very quickly.

Sincerely, the EIO-LCA team

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