REU Tutorial: Practical Graph Drawing

Title: Practical Graph Drawing: A Tutorial

Speaker: Emden R. Gansner, AT&T Labs Research

Hosted by James Abello, DIMACS

Date: Tuesday, June 4, 2013 12:30 - 1:30pm and Wednesday, June 5, 2013 12:30 - 3:00 pm

Location: DIMACS Center, CoRE Bldg, Room 431, Rutgers University, Busch Campus, Piscataway, NJ


Some forms of graph drawing date back to the Middle Ages, but it has only been in the last 30 years, with the development of computers and the ensuing explosion in the amount of discrete data, that work in graph drawing has blossomed. Much of this work has focused on basic layout algorithms as node-link diagrams, and related theoretical results. But graph drawing is inher-ently a tool: it provides a visual way to explore relational, multivariate data. Practical graph drawing requires one to consider a host of sec-ondary algorithms to assist in the effective understanding of the data. These may deal with occlusion (If nodes are not points, how can one be sure data are not hidden?), more complex data models (loops, multiedges, ports, edge lengths), simplification (assist the user in find-ing main features and exploring the graph), and massive graphs. This tutorial will provide an introduction to graph drawing and its main trends and results. This will lead us into a detailed consideration of some of the corollary problems that need to be solved for a drawing be used effectively with real data. We will look at how various research has addressed these problems, and which problems beg for better solutions.


Emden R. Gansner received a B.S. in mathe-matics from Caltech in 1973 and a Ph.D. in mathematics from MIT in 1978. After teaching at the University of Illinois, he joined Bell Laboratories in 1980 and was a Distinguished Member of Technical Staff in the Software Engineering Research Department. At present, he is a Lead Member of Technical Staff in the Information Visualization Research Depart-ment. His research interests include graphs (drawing, theory, and algorithms), information visualization, graphical user interfaces, programming tools and environments, programming languages, and combinatorics.

Tutorial Flyer

For questions or more information, please contact Dr. Eugene Fiorini, Associate Director of DIMACS and Program Coordinator ( The Workshop is organized by the DIMACS REU program (