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China and the German Hasso Plattner Institute

China and the German Hasso Plattner Institute – A Close Partnership

CeBIT exhibitor Hasso Plattner Institute (Hall 9, Stand D44) has a close and cooperative relationship with its partner country China. This partnership has its origins in tele-teaching and accordingly e-learning. Prof. Christoph Meinel, director of HPI since 2004 (https://hpi.de), began on October 29, 2002 as German professor (then at the University of Trier) teaching Chinese students at the Beijing University of Technology (BJUT) online topics on Internet security in English. That year the People’s Republic of China made it possible for its students to take part in online lectures held live from foreign universities. Thus a piece of scientific history was written. Meinel was granted the title “Honorary Professor” by BJUT in 2013.With the help of Germany, China was connected to the Internet on September 20, 1987. The first e-mail sent from Beijing to Karlsruhe over the wide world read: “Across the Great Wall we can reach every corner in the world.”

Werner Zorn, a computer science professor at that time in Karlsruhe, played a decisive role in “pulling the strings,” just as he had three years earlier in getting Germany connected to the Internet precursor CSNET. Zorn held the Chair of Communication Systems at Hasso Plattner Institute from 2001 until his retirement in 2007. As one of the fathers of the German Internet, he was awarded the Federal Order of Merit in 2006. In 2014, Zorn was honored with the Friendship Award of the Chinese government, the highest awarded bestowed on foreigners.

In November 2011, Hasso Plattner Institute established a branch of the international HPI Research School at Nanjing University. Together with the computer scientists at Shanghai University, HPI regularly conducts German-Chinese workshops on the topic of cloud computing. Moreover, the Potsdam Institute, which has operated the first innovation school for university students since 2007, collaborates on training in the innovation method of “Design Thinking” with the Communication University of China (CUC), the largest media university in the world. By 2016 the CUC plans completion of a new building to accommodate the growing number of students, who also come from other Peking universities to seek an education in Design Thinking. With its Design Thinking Innovation Center, it will take on a pioneering role in China.  “Honorary Director” of the institution is director of the Potsdam HPI School of Design Thinking, Prof. Ulrich Weinberg.