Authors: Vahan Yoghourdjian, Tim Dwyer, Graeme Gange, Steve Kieffer, Karsten Klein, Kim Marriott
Abstract: Prior research into network layout has focused on fast heuristic techniques for layout of large networks, or complex multi-stage pipelines for higher quality layout of small graphs. Improvements to these pipeline techniques, especially for orthogonal-style layout, are difficult and practical results have been slight in recent years. Yet, as discussed in this paper, there remain significant issues in the quality of the layouts produced by these techniques, even for quite small networks. This is especially true when layout with additional grouping constraints is required. The first contribution of this paper is to investigate an ultra-compact, grid-like network layout aesthetic that is motivated by the grid arrangements that are used almost universally by designers in typographical layout. Since the time when these heuristic and pipeline-based graph-layout methods were conceived, generic technologies (MIP, CP and SAT) for solving combinatorial and mixed-integer optimization problems have improved massively. The second contribution of this paper is to reassess whether these techniques can be used for high-quality layout of small graphs. While they are fast enough for graphs of up to 50 nodes we found these methods do not scale up. Our third contribution is a large-neighborhood search meta-heuristic approach that is scalable to larger networks.