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ImPrEd: An Improved Force-Directed Algorithm that Prevents Nodes from Crossing Edges

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Abstract

PrEd [Ber00] is a force-directed algorithm that improves the existing layout of a graph while preserving its edge crossing properties. The algorithm has a number of applications including: improving the layouts of planar graph drawing algorithms, interacting with a graph layout, and drawing Euler-like diagrams. The algorithm ensures that nodes do not cross edges during its execution. However, PrEd can be computationally expensive and overly-restrictive in terms of node movement.

In this paper, we introduce ImPrEd: an improved version of PrEd that overcomes some of its limitations and widens its range of applicability. ImPrEd also adds features such as flexible or crossable edges, allowing for greater control over the output. Flexible edges, in particular, can improve the distribution of graph elements and the angular resolution of the input graph. They can also be used to generate Euler diagrams with smooth boundaries. As flexible edges increase data set size, we experience an execution/drawing quality trade off. However, when flexible edges are not used, ImPrEdproves to be consistently faster than PrEd.

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