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Graph drawing, or the automatic layout of graphs, is a challenging problem. There are several search based methods for graph drawing which are based on optimizing an objective function which is formed from a weighted sum of multiple criteria. In this paper, we propose a new neighbourhood search method which uses a tabu search coupled with path relinking to optimize such objective functions for general graph layouts with undirected straight lines. To our knowledge, before our work, neither of these methods have been previously used in general multi-criteria graph drawing. Tabu search uses a memory list to speed up searching by avoiding previously tested solutions, while the path relinking method generates new solutions by exploring paths that connect high quality solutions. We use path relinking periodically within the tabu search procedure to speed up the identification of good solutions. We have evaluated our new method against the commonly used neighbourhood search optimization techniques: hill climbing and simulated annealing. Our evaluation examines the quality of the graph layout (objective function's value) and the speed of layout in terms of the number of evaluated solutions required to draw a graph. We also examine the relative scalability of each method. Our experimental results were applied to both random graphs and a real-world dataset. We show that our method outperforms both hill climbing and simulated annealing by producing a better layout in a lower number of evaluated solutions. In addition, we demonstrate that our method has greater scalability as it can layout larger graphs than the state-of-the-art neighbourhood search methods. Finally, we show that similar results can be produced in a real world setting by testing our method against a standard public graph dataset.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: PloS one
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