The establishment of Institute of IR4.0 (IIR4.0) in Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, in March 2020 was from the aspiration of Malaysia’s National 4IR policy to achieve sustainable growth and socio-economic development. The institute was originally set up from the rebranding of the Institute of Visual Informatics (IVI). IVI is a center of excellence in Computer Science & ICT, which integrates many other fields such as education, medicine & health, engineering and socio-economy to make it a multi-disciplinary center of excellence that has come to be known locally and abroad. The field of Visual Informatics is one of the most exciting and inspiring branches of research. The world of Industry 4.0 shows over 70% of content on the Internet in the form of visuals and data information; while more than 50% of neurons in the human brain are used to make decisions through perception and visual thinking.
Therefore, when the UKM Senate approved its establishment in November 2011 onwards, which was formally approved at the Ministry of Higher Education (MoHE), it was very timely. At that time, IVI offered a Master’s and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) program by research in the field of Visual Informatics in four (4) core areas: Simulation & Visualization, Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) & Usability Engineering (UE), Simulation, Computer Vision & Image Processing, and Visual Intelligence Data Analytics.
All of these fields are still associated with IR4.0 but it needs to be complemented by many more emerging technologies (new technologies) that are now the cornerstone of IR4.0. IVI was successfully led by Prof. Dato’ Dr. Halimah Badioze Zaman, Founder and first Director of the Institute until her service expires at the end of 2019. The Institute initially had one Principal, three (3) Research Fellows, two (2) Research Fellows and five (5) Associate Fellows assisted by two (2) support staff.
In 2019, the Institute had increased the number of research fellows to fifteen (15) and the support of 8 (8) staff. The Institute’s success can also be seen through thirty-two (32) PhD and ten (10) Masters students who have graduated. The Institute also leads fraternities in the field through the successful organizing of the International Visual Informatics Conference (IVIC) held every two years. The Institute has successfully acquired its own building in the Akademia Siber Teknonopolis (AST) which housed the research labs, multimedia-fusion technology auditoriums, seminar rooms and facilities such as gymnasium and cafe.
The new mandate means that the IIR4.0 will be a center of excellence with many disciplines that embody the basic principles of 4IR that permeates across digital, biological and physical space. The researches carried out will cover the latest emerging technologies that are the cornerstone of 4IR such as Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, Cloud Computing, Advanced Visualization, Virtual & Augmented Reality, Autonomous Systems, System Integration, Additive Manufacturing, Big Data Analytics, Robotics, and Cyber Security.