My most memorable DAC was the 26th DAC 1989 in Las Vegas with Gateway Design Automation. I had been to a few earlier DACs: two in Miami Beach as an EDA customer, and my first year as an EDA vendor in 1988 in Anaheim.
The 1989 DAC was the first time I had been involved with a complete cycle for a full year. As an EDA customer, I just showed up to be wined, dined, and demoed. As an young EDA vendor, I was amazed by the amount of effort that went into exhibiting at DAC. Planning for the 25th DAC began the day after the 25th DAC was over. Our product schedules were tied to the immovable release date for a DAC demo. A whole year of demos would be built off of what we showed at DAC.
In the last days before the WorldWideWeb, DAC was the one key event for a small EDA vendor to get noticed by the industry. We hired the artist George Rhoads, best known for his large audio kinetic ball sculptures in many public spaces, to build a sculpture for us to draw people into our booth. We were trying to get people to move up a level of abstraction from gate-level to RTL and higher. I visited Rhoads in his studio and developed a Verilog model of the balls moving through the sculpture to show what was possible with Verilog. That code is etched into the case the sculpture was enclosed in, and today sits in the Cadence lobby in Massachusetts.
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DAC is the premier conference devoted to the design and automation of electronic systems (EDA), embedded systems and software (ESS), and intellectual property (IP).