An Interactive Multi-User System for Simultaneous Graph Drawing

Stephen G. Kobourov1, Chandan Pitta2

In this paper we consider the problem of simultaneous drawing of two graphs. The goal is to produce aesthetically pleasing drawings for the two graphs by means of a heuristic algorithm and with human assistance. Our implementation uses the DiamondTouch table, a multi- user, touch-sensitive input device, to take advantage of direct physical interaction of several users working collaboratively

We present an interactive multi-user system for simultaneous graph drawing. The system uses the DiamondTouch table, and allows for collaborative work of up to four users. We also provide a heuristic algorithm that attempts to minimize the number of crossings. The algorithms can be used on the entire graphs or on subsets of nodes. The users can stop the algorithm, move nodes around and restart it with the updated positions. Thus, the users can help the algorithm move out of a local minimum, or guide the algorithm towards a more aesthetically appealing solution. Alternatively, if the users get stuck in a local minimum, the algorithm can be started from a random position that may lead to a better solution. Finally, our system works not only with the DiamondTouch table, but also as a Java desktop application, or as a Java applet.

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1 Dept. of Computer Science
University of Arizona
2 Dept. of Electrical and Comp. Eng.
University of Arizona