DVCon, the first big verification-related conference of the year is now complete. Unlike in past years where I’ve spent quite a bit of time during the conference blogging about what’s been going on each day, I’ve decided this year (as you may have noticed) to do a series of wrap up articles instead. Why? One big reason is that I was able to describe many of the minute by minute details of the conference on Twitter along with many of my new EDA Twitter friends. More on that in a future post (or check out Karen Bartleson’s post on her Twitter experience at DVCon). Another reason is that I wanted to spend more time taking in the conference itself as opposed to huddled in a corner somewhere writing up blog articles. If you have any preferences for one over the other please let me know so I can make adjustments if necessary at DAC.
In this post I’m going to discuss conference attendance. Stay tuned for upcoming posts on Formal vs. Dynamic Simulation, industry moves towards improving constrained-random simulation, my theory that SpringSoft should eventually buy Jasper, the Wednesday “EDA: Dead or Alive” panel, and the use of Twitter at #dvcon.
According to the folks at MP Associates, conference attendance was 668 this year, down from 804 last year (a 17% drop). However, in both years about 450 of those attendees were exhibitors or people who otherwise attended for free. That means this year there were about 218 paid attendees vs. 354 last year, a 38% drop in paid attendance. Based on discussions I had with people involved with organizing DVCon, the conference budget was reduced a significant amount this year, as would be expected given the reduction in paid attendance. However, apart from the apparent lack of a second microphone in the sessions for use by the session moderator and lack of any sort of press get together (which few would have noticed), the conference seemed to go quite smoothly. In fact, I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the food and friendliness of the service staff at the Doubletree Hotel over previous years.
Given the drop in attendance, I was expecting a drop in the number of interesting people I would bump into, but, in fact, I ended up having more business meetings and chance hallway conversations than in previous years. Part of this comes as a general result of my conference attendance over the last few years, some of it from Twitter, some from existing business relationships, and some from a reduced fear of making a fool out of myself by striking up conversations with random people, but regardless of the source DVCon 2009 was well worth the time and money spent to attend from a networking perspective.
On the technical front, things weren’t quite as interesting. Most of the cool technical content I got out of the conference, with the exception of the Case Studies I technical session, came from private discussions. As an interesting side note, I did have a few more people ask whether or not I’d organized a misfits panel. The idea of the misfits panel was to allow people a chance to present things they are working on without having to bother writing up a paper. It sounds like I could have pulled something together if I’d invited people individually to participate. I’ll keep that in mind for next year!