Announcing DAC’s First Art Show

Turning floorplans into real works of art.


Every year DAC features something new. For the general chair, balancing tried and true conference elements with infusions of change is part of the art of putting on DAC and keeping it fresh. This year one change has to do with art itself — #53DAC features what I believe to be the first art show in the conference’s long history.

No, I’m not asking you to submit that painting you’ve been laboring over, perhaps with the help of last fall’s Bob Ross marathon on Twitch. Rather, this is a call for you to send in the best, most aesthetically interesting images associated with design automation today.

Examples include die photoshots of silicon designs, design floorplans and placemats, 3-D wiring or clock visualizations, lithographic images and thermal maps. But that list is just the starting point. Really, any image associated with how our community is helping to create the world’s astonishing array of electronic devices is welcome.


I’ve had the art show idea since a visit to the University of Bonn in 2012. Professor Bernhard Korte leads a research group there, known for writing physical design algorithms. Members of the group are regular participants at DAC.

But Professor Korte also runs the Arithmeum, a museum dedicated to preserving historical counting machines. The walls are decorated with real ASIC chip designs that have been colorized to produce true artwork.

Seeing the display of the result of powerful algorithms made the connection between EDA and art real. It occurred to me that designers and algorithmic developers were creating art every day, and that we should have a venue to showcase it. Hence, the DAC art show.

More details:

● If your piece is selected, we’ll handle getting it framed and displaying it beginning Monday, June 6 at the Austin Convention Center. (And you’ll be welcome to take the final piece home with you, frame and all!)
● No movies please, but a sequence of images is okay; (e.g., submit six images than can be framed that together show how an algorithm works).
● Images will be judged in several categories: best visualization, best silicon photo, most inspiring, most insightful and most artistic.
● The executive committee will work to get the Grand Prize image, judged the best in all categories, displayed beyond DAC, perhaps in another museum.

Visit the DAC Silicon/Art Technology Show page to submit your images today and let me know if you have any questions — unless it has to do with painting landscapes.

For that, you’ll have to turn to Bob Ross.

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