Heilmeier Criteria

I learned this criteria from Prof. John Wen, and it was proposed by former DARPA director G. Heilmeier.

I suggest all my students follow this as well.

    1. What are you trying to do? Articulate your objectives using absolutely no jargon.
    2. How is it done today, and what are the limits of current practice?
    3. What is new in your approach and why do you think it will be successful?
    4. Who cares and why?
    5. If you’re successful, what difference will it make? What applications are enabled as a result?
    6. What are the risks?
    7. How much will it cost? How long will it take?
    8. What are the midterm and final check points to evaluate progress towards success?


  • Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler. -- Albert Einstein
  • The thing that differentiates scientists is a purely artistic ability to discern what is a good idea, what is a beautiful idea, what is worth spending time on and most importantly what is a problem that is sufficiently interesting yet sufficiently difficult that it hasn't yet been solved and yet the time for solving it has come. -- Savas Dimopoulos
  • And if you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss also gazes into you. -- Friedrich Nietzsche
  • Let this be my last word, that I trust thy love. -- Rabindranath Tagore
  • 君子之于天下也,无适也,无莫也,义之与比。 -- 《论语》
  • There is no better land than a barren land, to show your fertility. -- HS
  • Veni, vidi, vici. -- Julius Caesar
  • 人心惟危,道心惟微,惟精惟一,允执厥中。 -- 《尚书 • 大禹谟》
  • 大学之道,在明明德,在亲民,在止于至善。知止而后有定,定而后能静,静而后能安,安而后能虑,虑而后能得。物有本末,事有终始。知所先后,则近道矣。-- 《大学》
  • 孰能浊以静之徐清,孰能安以动之徐生. --《 道德经》
  • 天行健,君子以自强不息。地势坤,君子以厚德载物。 -- 《易经》 & 清华校训(梁启超 @ 1914)