Successfully Linking Science and Business
Plattner, a native of Berlin, majored in communications engineering at the University of Karlsruhe and graduated with an advanced degree in engineering. In 1990, the University of Saarbrücken awarded Plattner an honorary doctorate. Four years later the university appointed him honorary professor of business information technology. In 1998 the University of Saarland gave him the title of Honorary Senator. Plattner is also a member of the Board of Trustees at Stanford University. Since 2002 he has held an honorary doctorate from the University of Potsdam, where he was granted an honorary professorship in 2004. In February 2016 he was awarded the Heinrich Hertz Guest Professorship by the University of Karlsruhe and the President of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT).
Plattner sees Potsdam, Brandenburg’s state capital, as “an ideal location for future-oriented research and teaching, not least because of the unique appeal of the Havelland region with its beautiful landscape and historic heritage.” The SAP co-founder and former chairman of the board made this statement when announcing the founding of the Hasso Plattner Institute of Software Systems Engineering (HPI) in the summer of 1998. In the fall of 2016, Plattner announced HPI’s extensive expansion, in the following years the institute is expected to double. In the course of the expansion, the HPI and the University of Potsdam jointly founded the “Digital Engineering Faculty”.
Plattner not only finances the HPI, he has also made a personal commitment as head of the “Enterprise Platform and Integration Concepts” research and teaching department. His initiative has facilitated a number of groundbreaking innovations. One of the most significant examples is HPI’s research into in-memory data management (a project Plattner personally oversaw) that led to the creation of HANA, a product of the SAP software corporation. In 2012, this technology received both the German Innovation Award and the Berlin-Brandenburg Innovation Award.
The promotion of future-oriented research, innovation and entrepreneurship is particularly important to HPI’s dedicated patron and founder. The HPI Research School was founded in 2005. This interdisciplinary doctoral program now has “branches” at the University of Cape Town in South Africa, at the Technion in Israel, and at Nanjing University in China. This was followed in 2010 by the establishment of the top-level research facility HPI Future SOC Lab. It provides scientists and researchers from all over the world with an infrastructure of the latest hardware and software for research purposes at no cost.
In 2007, Plattner expanded the HPI with the addition of the HPI School of Design Thinking. This is where students in advanced stages of their studies can learn to develop innovative products and services within multidisciplinary teams. In the meantime, there is also a joint Design Thinking research program with leading U.S. university Stanford; in 2005, Plattner donated funding for the establishment of a Hasso Plattner Institute of Design Thinking there. For his engagement in the area of Design Thinking, Plattner received the German Design Award in 2016.
Also in 2005, Plattner increased his involvement in Potsdam by financing a business incubator and venture capital fund (Hasso Plattner Ventures, www.hp-ventures.com) to support young entrepreneurs in the IT sector.
In spring 2011, the SAP co-founder and chairman of the supervisory board announced the establishment of the first innovation center in Potsdam. The SAP Innovation Center (www.sap-innovationcenter.com) works closely with HPI. In 2007 and 2011, Plattner also lent his financial support to the construction of Potsdam’s City Palace, making possible an accurate reconstruction of the cooper roof and the façade.
In 2012, Plattner launched another educational innovation at HPI in Potsdam – a novel kind of social learning network. Via the online learning platform https://openhpi.de anyone in the world can participate in open, free-of-charge courses in information technology at HPI. In the meantime, approximately 500,000 enrollments have been registered at openHPI from 170,000 users and 180 countries. More than 48,000 certificates have also already been issued to successful learners.