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Anne Cirkel
Anne Cirkel
Anne Cirkel is the General Chair for the 52nd DAC and a Senior Director for Technology Marketing at Mentor Graphics. Prior to joining Mentor Anne held marketing management positions at Analogy, Viewlogic, and Berner & Mattner. Anne holds a Master's degree in Business Administration with an … More »

Breaking DAC records

February 11th, 2015 by Anne Cirkel

In tech it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that you’re either growing or dying, on the way up or on the way out. I poked modest fun at Apple in an earlier post, but their latest financial results certainly illustrate the point. By now you’ve probably heard that Apple’s $18 billion quarterly profit was the largest ever reported by a public company. At DAC, we may not be selling 34,000 iPhones per hour around the clock for three straight months (wow!), but we are setting our own records.

Designer and IP track submissions are up 27% compared to 2014. We received the most Designer track submissions since launching that track in 2010 (we called it the User track back then). We received a record number of Embedded track submissions, too. In fact, submissions are up nearly across the board — that is, for special sessions in EDA, embedded, automotive, and security, as well as panels and tutorials

This Designer Track momentum is especially gratifying given that the realm of tech conferences and publications increasingly is dominated by vendor-sponsored fare. Arguably, this makes those few spaces for independent, designer-to-designer exchange of ideas that much more important. The Designer Track is one such place. (As a career marketer it is somewhat awkward to highlight the Designer Track as a marketing-free zone!) In my book DAC remains overall the premier conference for refereed content on design and automation of electronic systems. Of course, as general chair, I may be biased in my views on this.

Coincidentally, DAC usually tends to overlap Apple’s WWDC. I’ll just say that if those reporters that flock to Moscone West want to experience a more agenda-free conference, they should walk across Fourth Street to Moscone South and spend a few hours at DAC. (Okay, so I know most of them won’t — phones beat FinFETs every time for media appeal.) However, if you’re a designer on the fence about attending DAC, I hope our numbers encourage you to put a reminder in your calendars on March 26, the day conference registration opens.

YouTube DirektUniversity of Illinois physicist and MacArthur 'genius' John Rogers will deliver DAC's Thursday keynote.

Still waffling? Maybe the keynote announcements will sway you. So far I’ve blogged about two of luminaries who will take the main stage: a MacArthur ‘genius’ (see above) who is working on biocompatible electronics and an automotive technologist whose self-driving system had one tech journalist “simultaneously geeking- and freaking out” during a test drive at CES. I’m talking about University of Illinois professor John Rogers and Delphi CTO Jeffrey Owen; more on them in my week 34 and 35 posts on the DAC site.

YouTube DirektYours truly, giving a conference overview on the new DAC TV YouTube channel in an interview with Brian Fuller

The recent good news about DAC goes beyond submissions. The DAC TV channel went live on YouTube on January 8. The interviews and other content you’ll see there are offered up in the same spirit as my blog posts here and on That is, we want to foster transparency, build a sense of community and enlist your support as we put together plans for the conference. We’re all volunteers on the executive committee (EC), so we could use that support. Check out the first batch of videos, which includes brief interviews with me and my EC colleagues Daniel Bourke and Mac McNamara, and leave a question for us by posting a YouTube comment. I promise we’ll answer, though it’s only fair I get to ask a few of you in return:

Will the surge in submissions lead to more attendees this year? What changes would you like to see in the conference to make it easier for you as a DAC “user”? What’s it going to take to get you to register? (Besides an iPhone in your swag bag, which is probably out of the question.)

Speaking of iPhones, while naysayers around the internet say this must be the peak, there’s no doubt Apple sits atop the tech world for now. It’s a stunning story, especially since those of us of a certain age can well remember Apple as months from bankruptcy when Steve Jobs rejoined it in 1997.

There’s work to do yet, but DAC 52 is shaping up to be quite a story, too.

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