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I am in my first semester of a computer engineering PhD in the USA. At my University during your first year they will pay for your expenses to attend, up to $1000.00, for a conference. Every year after that they will pay your expenses if you get a paper accepted.

I am wondering how others look at/find conferences that they feel are worth the monetary and time commitment for what they provide. My areas of interest are embedded systems, computer architecture, and security. I have found many conferences but am unsure of how I should vet the quality of these.

What criteria do others use when looking at conferences and judging their relevance to the area they address? What opinion or otherwise do people have of academic conferences vs industry type conferences vs enthusiast type conferences?

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There are many different types of conferences and many different reasons to go to a particular conference. The most relevant that I would say for your situation are:

  • Flagship conferences that everybody in a field goes to because that's where everybody goes, and where research presented will get the greatest audience.
  • Niche conferences and workshops that serve some particular smaller interest group. They are less prestigious, but are where the communities they serve have a lot of key interactions and get a lot of actual intellectual work done.
  • Crap conferences that would like to fool you into believing that they are one of the first two.

Some good tactics for judging the quality of a conference:

  1. Where do the people whose work you respect (particularly your advisor) publish and attend?
  2. Where are the organizers and program committee members from? Are many of them from high-profile research institutions?
  3. Google Scholar metrics

Given your early stage and breadth of interests, I would recommend going to one of the broad flagship conferences, where you can hear about lots of things from lots of different types of researchers and organizations. Those conferences often have a lot of industry attendance as well. I don't know your specific field too well, but even from outside I know that USENIX is a large conference with a strong reputation. Still, use the heuristics I suggest and see if it's really the one you want...

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  • In addition, depending on your field, some flagship conferences have multiple collocated workshop, so you can combine both. – user102 Oct 11 '14 at 20:38
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I worked as an administrator for the 21st McGill International Entrepreneurship conference and we listed our conference on a conference announcement directory called PaperCrowd.

It attracted several delegates from around the world. I found out it was in the same city I lived in and I applied for a job there and got it! I am now the proud community manager of PaperCrowd. We are working hard to improve the services for researchers worldwide.

You should try PaperCrowd - a global directory of academic research conferences. You can search by topics, geography and keywords for research conferences you are interested in such as law, legal etc.

Organizers add their events in a couple of minutes and it’s free. It’s restricted to academic research conferences.

It feels good working for a company that I have seen myself was effective.

https://www.papercrowd.com/

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