Stability in Automatic Graph Layout Algorithms


Team Members

Karl F. Böhringer, Frances Newbery Paulisch, Walter F. Tichy


Automatic layout algorithms are commonly used when displaying graphs because they provide a "nice" drawing of the graph without user intervention. There are, however, several disadvantages to automatic layout. User- or application-specific layout constraints are usually not taken into account. A second problem is that automatic layout algorithms seldom make use of information in the current layout for the next incremental update. This can be frustrating to the user because whenever a new layout is done, the user's orientation in the graph is lost.

We propose layout constraints to solve both of these problems. We show how user-specified layout constraints may be easily added to many automatic graph layout algorithms. Additionally, layout information of the current graph generates constraints that are taken into account after the graph has been changed. This approach provides a continuum between manual and automatic layout by allowing the user to specify how stable the graph's layout should be.

Selected Publications

  • K. F. Böhringer and F. Newbery Paulisch, "Using Constraints to Achieve Stability in Automatic Graph Layout Algorithms." ACM SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, pp. 43-51, Seattle, WA, April 1-5, 1990. Paper.

A complete list of our publications (many of them available online) can be found here.

© Karl F. Böhringer, Department of Electrical Engineering, Box 352500, Seattle, WA 98195-2500, USA