Most engineers involved in the design, verification, and validation of electronic systems are familiar with the Design Automation Conference (DAC). It’s the stimulating combination of a highly technical conference with peer-reviewed papers and a lively trade show with a large exhibit floor. DAC is one of the highlights of the year for many silicon and software vendors, especially those of us in the electronic design automation (EDA) space. Sure, it’s a lot of work and expense to participate in DAC, but there’s no substitute for it in my experience.
Last year, for the first time in its 57-year history, DAC was a virtual event. Of course, the pandemic has resulted in many of our activities taking place online rather than in person, and for the most part we’ve adapted surprisingly well. Unfortunately, I can’t say that about the virtual trade shows in which we’ve participated. Frankly, the exhibit portions of last year’s DAC and most other online shows have been disappointing in terms of attendance at our “booths” or the level of interaction we were able to have with our users and potential users.