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Automating the layout of network diagrams with specified visual organization

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3 Author(s)
Kosak, C. ; Dept. of Comput. Sci., Carnegie Mellon Univ., Pittsburgh, PA, USA ; Marks, J. ; Shieber, S.

Network diagrams are a familiar graphic form that can express many different kinds of information. The problem of automating network-diagram layout has therefore received much attention. Previous research on network-diagram layout has focused on the problem of aesthetically optimal layout, using such criteria as the number of link crossings, the sum of all link lengths, and total diagram area. In this paper the authors propose a restatement of the network-diagram layout problem in which layout-aesthetic concerns are subordinated to perceptual-organization concerns. The authors present a notation for describing the visual organization of a network diagram. This notation is used in reformulating the layout task as a constrained-optimization problem in which constraints are derived from a visual-organization specification and optimality criteria are derived from layout-aesthetic considerations. Two new heuristic algorithms are presented for this version of the layout problem: one algorithm uses a rule-based strategy for computing a layout; the other is a massively parallel genetic algorithm. The authors demonstrate the capabilities of the two algorithms by testing them on a variety of network-diagram layout problems

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Systems, Man and Cybernetics, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:24 ,  Issue: 3 )