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Hasso Plattner Institute: The Third Research Branch Starts to Work - in Nanjing (China)

Potsdam/Nanjing. The Research School at Hasso Plattner Institute (HPI) has opened its third international "branch", following Cape Town and Haifa. In the city of Nanjing on Thursday, November 17th, the "HPI Research School at Nanjing University" was opened. Nanjing, which has approximately eight million inhabitants, was the old capital of the country and is a good 300 km from Shanghai. Prof. Christoph Meinel, HPI director, welcomed the first five Chinese doctoral candidates and their mentoring professors from Nanjing University.

The doctoral candidates from the Department of Computer Science and Technology increase the number of members of the HPI Research School to 50. Together, the highly-talented junior researchers from around the world investigate the fields related to the topic "Service-Oriented IT Systems Engineering".

The research of the Chinese doctoral candidates in Nanjing is focused on the theme "Mass Data Analytics and Knowledge Discovery". In Haifa, nine young Israeli researchers from Technion are involved particularly in the field of "Scalable Computing". Since 2010 they are investigating the new structure and potential implementation of software as well as hardware architectures for modern multicore computers. Since April 2009 at the HPI Research School in South Africa, there are doctoral candidates at the "HPI Research School at the University of Cape Town". The six young researchers are concentrating on information and communication technology for developing and emerging countries.

At the ceremony in Nanjing, from the Chinese side, the President, the Vice President of Nanjing University, and representatives of the provincial government were present and greeted the assembly. All the members of the newly opened HPI research school, including seven professors and five PhD students participated at the ceremony as well. From Germany, in addition to the Institute founder, Prof. Hasso Plattner and the Institute director, Prof. Christoph Meinel, HPI Prof. Andreas Polze (Speaker of the HPI Research School) and further members from the HPI Research School in Potsdam came to Nanjing for the opening ceremony. Dr. Wolfgang Röhr, the German Consul General in Shanghai, also attended the ceremony.

"We are delighted that Nanjing University is joining our graduate school in the education of talented junior researchers," said HPI Director Meinel. "The topic they proposed, 'Mass Data Analytics and Knowledge Discovery', supplements perfectly the spectrum of questions, addressed by the HPI researchers, for designing modern, highly complex software systems". Nanjing, Haifa and Cape Town follow the model introduced in 2005 for the Research School branches. Doctoral candidates are mentored jointly by all professors at the school, rather than by a single advisor.

With a multi-faceted view of the field they are studying, the scholars work on their current, cross-disciplinary, special topics. Once a week they come together at a research seminar to discuss the progress of their work. Twice a year they meet for a convention to report their findings and discuss future plans. Additionally, they are encouraged and also receive funding to take part in renowned international scientific conferences, workshops and symposia.

Cooperation with Nanjing Broadens HPI's Research

"The cooperation with the Nanjing University, the Technion, and the University of Cape Town gives us the opportunity to expand our research and to create a stronger network with outstanding international research groups in the field of IT Systems Engineering," said Meinel. Prof. Chen Jun, President of the Nanjing University and member of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, explained, "This opening is a milestone in the development of a close working relationship between the HPI and the Nanjing University. I am convinced that this step has laid the foundation for future cooperation in Information Technology that will bring benefits to both sides. This will strongly support the research and further development of information science at our University as well as at the Hasso Plattner Institute".

Like their Israeli and South African colleagues, the Chinese junior researchers work at their home university in China and are awarded scholarships from HPI in Germany. They are mentored jointly by their respective home professors as well as being integrated in the research activities of the Research School in Potsdam. In addition, they will be invited to take part in the annual joint HPI Research School symposium. "Furthermore, it is also planned that there is an exchange between the young researchers and new research projects are acquired jointly", Meinel added.

Short Profile of Hasso Plattner Institute

The Hasso Plattner Institute for IT Systems Engineering (HPI) in Potsdam is Germany's university excellence center for IT Systems Engineering. It is the only university institute in Germany to offer a Bachelor's and Master's program in "IT Systems Engineering," providing a practical and engineering-oriented alternative to the conventional study of computer science. Current enrollment is at approximately 460 students. Overall there are approximately 10 professors and over 50 lecturers and visiting professors who work at HPI. HPI conducts outstanding university research - as well as research for renowned partners in business and industry. The primary focus is on the foundation and application of large, highly-complex cross-linked systems.

Since October 2005, HPI has its own international graduate school, the Research School on "Service-Oriented Systems Engineering". In October 2007, the "HPI School of Design Thinking" was established. Every year, 120 students from different of discipline are taught how to develop user-friendly, IT related-products and services in multi-disciplinary teams.

The HPI School of Design Thinking is run in close cooperation with the US elite university Stanford in California. In November 2008, the two schools launched a joint research program on innovation. HPI also works closely with the Technion in Israel, the Massachusetts of Technology (MIT) in the USA, the Nanjing University, the TU Peking, the University of Cape Town as well as with various universities in Europe.

idw :: 17.11.2011