The INFORMS Practice Conference is one of my favorite conferences. It is here that I get most of my stories for my classes and get inspired about the areas I work in. I also get inspired about Operations Research in general: it is a great field, and this conference shows the wonderful things we do.
If you haven’t been to a Practice Conference, it is nothing like the big fall conferences. The Practice Conference is seen as a “Listener’s Conference”: unlike the main conference where anyone can present, only invited speakers present at the Practice Conference. The quality of talks given by invited speakers ranges from good to unbelievably amazing (in contrast with the fall conference where the lower bound is much, much, much lower). There are very few parallel sessions (no more than 5 or 6) and there are lots of opportunities for interaction, greatly enhancing the social capital of the conference.
Unfortunately, it is not a cheap conference. Running a conference of the quality of the Practice conference takes money. So if you are planning to go, be sure to register by February 27 to save yourself $150 or so.
Of course, one highlight of the conference is the Edelman Competition.
I already have my registration in!