Interdisciplinary Seminar Series

Title: Practical Graph Drawing

Speaker: Emden R. Gansner, AT&T Labs

Date: Tuesday, October 15, 2013 11:00am - 12:00pm

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 inherently a tool: it provides a visual way to explore relational, multivariate data. Practical graph drawing requires one to consider a host of secondary algorithms to assist in the effective understanding of the data. These may deal with occlusion, more complex data models (loops, multiedges, ports, edge lengths), simplification, and massive graphs.

We will provide an overview of graph drawing, its main trends and results. This will lead us into a detailed consideration of some of the problems that need to be solved for a drawing to be used effectively with real data. We will look at how research has addressed these problems, and which problems beg for better solutions.


Emden R. Gansner received a B.S. in mathematics from Caltech , and a Ph.D. in mathematics from MIT. After teaching at the University of Illinois, he joined Bell Laboratories 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 AT&T Information Visualization Research Department. His research interests include graphs (drawing, theory, algorithms ), information visualization, graphical user interfaces, programming tools and environments, programming languages, and combinatorics.

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