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Tom Anderson, VP of Marketing
Tom Anderson, VP of Marketing
Tom Anderson is vice president of Marketing for Breker Verification Systems. He previously served as Product Management Group Director for Advanced Verification Solutions at Cadence, Technical Marketing Director in the Verification Group at Synopsys and Vice President of Applications Engineering at … More »

Where, Oh Where Should My Little DAC Be?

June 14th, 2013 by Tom Anderson, VP of Marketing

I spent my last few posts previewing and reporting on the 50th Design Automation Conference (DAC) in Austin. As I have mentioned, this was the first time that DAC was held in Austin and so a lot of vendors were nervous about that. I know at least a couple of companies who downsized their DAC crews in anticipation of a smaller show. Well, the numbers are in and DAC did fairly well in Austin. Full-conference passes were 1589, down 16% from 2012 in San Francisco. Exhibits-only passes were 2364, down 15%. The number of both staffers was down 26%, reflecting both consolidation in the EDA industry and smaller crews.

No one really expected Austin to match San Francisco, but the numbers are quite respectable. What was especially interesting was that the number of exhibits-only passes exceeded by 15% those in San Diego in 2011. It seems that the local electronics community really turned out at DAC this year, already clear to us exhibitors since we saw many new faces we had not seen at shows in other locations.

I’ve been attending DAC since 1988, the fifth year to include both exhibits and the original technical conference. These conferences have been located as follows:

  • Anaheim – 7 times (1988, 1992, 1997, 2003, 2005, 2008, 2010)
  • San Francisco – 6 times (1991, 1995, 1998, 2006, 2009, 2012)
  • San Diego – 4 times (1994, 2004, 2007, 2011)
  • Las Vegas – 3 times (1989, 1996, 2001)
  • New Orleans – 2 times (1999, 2002)
  • Orlando – once (1990)
  • Dallas – once (1993)
  • Los Angeles – once (2000)
  • Austin – once (2013)

I was surprised to realize when I compiled this list that I had been to more shows in Anaheim than anywhere else. Orange County has a significant electronics community and is accessible from both Silicon Valley and San Diego as a day trip. However, its main attraction as a tourist destination is its theme parks, and since DAC is always held before schools get out for the summer it’s not a big draw. San Diego also has many local electronic companies and is, at least for me, a more attractive destination.

Las Vegas and New Orleans are certainly fun locations to have a conference, but of course there are few local attendees. It seems that when times get tough companies are less likely to authorize travel to such places. As the boss might say, “Sure, you’re going to Las Vegas to spend all your time listening to technical talks. You seriously expect me to believe that?”

If I were a real journalist I’d have dug up the complete history of DAC attendance before sitting down to write. But I’m a blogger, and without all the numbers at my fingertips I can only say that San Francisco seems to draw the best crowds, followed by San Diego. Feel free to comment if you have the facts. I was impressed with the turnout in Austin this year and urge the DAC folks to consider a San Francisco-San Diego-Austin rotation.

What about San Jose? Local attendance would be phenomenal but we don’t have the same allure as San Francisco for visitors and tourists. However, the Embedded Systems Conference and other technical shows seem to do fine here. Whenever the San Jose Convention Center expansion and the gradually shrinking DAC exhibit floor intersect, let’s try a show here and see how it works out. In the meantime, I’ll see you all in San Francisco for the next two years of DAC.

Tom A.

The truth is out there … sometimes it’s in a blog.

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