The Hasso Plattner Institute for Software Systems Engineering (HPI) is, in legal terms, a GmbH (limited-liability company). It was founded in October 1998 as part of a public-private partnership. The Institute is funded by the non-profit Hasso Plattner Foundation for Software Systems Engineering, which is also the sole interest holder in the company. The Federal State of Brandenburg's contribution consisted in its provision of a plot of land near the Griebnitzsee, on which the building complexes of HPI and Potsdam University's Institute for Informatics were subsequently erected. Professor Hasso Plattner has pledged the foundation from his private assets for the day-to-day running of the Institute over a period of more than 20 years. Due to his commitment, he is one of the most important private supporters of science in Germany.
The foundation has two executive bodies: the Foundation Council comprising between eight and ten members and the Board of Directors consisting of between four and six members. Current board members are Prof. Hasso Plattner and Berthold Wipfler (appointed by the endower), Brandenburg's Minister of Science, Research and Culture Prof. Johanna Wanka and Potsdam University's head of administration Dr. Barbara Obst-Hantel (both appointed by the Federal State of Brandenburg).
The Hasso Plattner Institute GmbH is headed by a scientific and a business director. The scientific director was simultaneously appointed to a professorship at the University of Potsdam. At the moment Prof. Dr. Christoph Meinel is head of the HPI.
Cooperation between HPI and the University of Potsdam is regulated by a cooperation agreement. The students at HPI are enrolled at the university, which awards the internationally recognized Bachelor's and Master's degrees to those who have successfully completed their studies. Most of the professors working at HPI have a joint appointment to the University of Potsdam.