My DAC experience started from 2003, when my first DAC paper, nlogn buffering insertion, was accepted. I was very excited and since I got "free travel" (thank for my advisor, Dr. Weiping Shi), I planned a big road trip with two of my best friends. We drove 5000 miles, through 9 states in two weeks. Starting from College Station, Texas, (with a brand-new Toyota Camry with only 5K mileage, btw, my first rental experience) , the first stop, of course, was Anaheim, where we enjoyed DAC, met my current manager there, won a small prize in Disneyland (yes, the Disneyland was reserved only for DAC party from 9pm to 12pm) and attended all technical meetings and knew new friends. Then we drove to Vegas, slept in the garage one night, camped in Utah Zion National park, drove on Highway 70 across Colorado, saw the Continental Divide sign, sang songs nowhere and took funny videos with my friends. It was a great experience and I will never forget that in my life.
In 2005, I attended DAC as a technical person representing a start-up company. The experience of standing in front of a table in exhibition floor for 3 days was quite interesting. It was fun to answer all different questions from the visitors. After DAC, my wife flew to CA and we started a week-long trip to tour around San Francisco, LA, San Diego. The 10 hour road drive on highway 1 from San Francisco to LA was really nice though my wife got car sick at the end on that scenic road.
In 2007, we brought our daughter to DAC (it was my wife's first DAC paper and I was there to receive the CAS outstanding young author award). Unfortunately, kids can not go inside the exhibition floor. We just took turn and got free toys for our daughter on the first day. After DAC, we went to Lego land and a few other places as well.
In 2012, we brought both of our kids to DAC. This is the first time we hired a baby-sitter, but kids just watched TV all-day in the hotel. After that, we have a 3-week trip, visiting 11 cities in Asia and quite exhausted.
I am looking forward to 2013 DAC since it is in Austin and I don't need to travel (and no baby-sitting). I hope you can have a very good travel experience at 50th DAC in Austin and write something about it next year! Come and enjoy the cold beer, BBQ, 6th street, Schlitterbahn waterpark, and "keep DAC weird".
Zhuo Li, IBM Austin Research Lab