An improved spring embedder layout algorithm for compound graphs
Interactive graph editing plays an important role in information visualization systems. For qualified analysis of the given data, an automated layout calculation is needed. There have been numerous results published about automatic layout of simple graphs, where the vertices are depicted as points in a 2D or 3D plane and edges as straight lines connecting those points. But simple graphs are insufficient to cover most real life information. Relational information is often clustered or hierarchically organized into groups or nested structures. Compound spring embedder (CoSE) of Chisio project is a layout algorithm based on a force-directed layout scheme for undirected, non-uniform node sized compound graphs. In order to satisfy the end-user, layout calculation process has to finish fast, and the resulting layout should be eye pleasing. Therefore, several methods were developed for improving both running time and the visual quality of the layout. With the purpose of improving the visual quality of CoSE, we adapted a multi-level scaling strategy. For improving the performance of the CoSE, the grid-variant algorithm proposed by Fruchterman and Reingold and parallel force calculation strategy by using graphics processing unit (GPU) were also adopted. Additionally, tuning of the parameters like spring constant and cooling factor were considered, as they affect the behavior of the physical system dramatically. Our experiments show that after some tuning and adaptation of the methods above, running time decreased and the visual quality of the layout improved significantly.