Readings 14&15, Discussion 14: Graphs and Networks

by Mike Gleicher on March 3, 2015

Reading and initial posting due: Monday, March 9th, 11:59p

Additional readings and posting/commenting due: Wednesday March 11th, 11:59p

Turn-in link: Reading 14 & 15 on Canvas

So far, we’ve been talking about encoding information about individual objects. Now we’ll talk about encoding information about the relationships between them.

The word “graph” here is graph in the mathematical sense: data that described the connection between “nodes.”

As in previous weeks, I’m putting two reading assignments together. I want you to at least do the basic readings for Monday (before class Tuesday). And then to do some more readings (with lots of choices) for later in the week.

One thing that is different about this reading: there are some more CS technical topics. So different readings will be recommended for different students.

For Monday’s initial posting, you are required to read #1 and look at #2 (the Tree Vis website). Generally, comment on what you’ve learned about the challenges of graph visualization – why is it differently hard than the other kinds of data we’ve been thinking about? Also, in your posting, pick one of the weirder tree visualizations, and comment on how it encodes linkage, and what you think the pros/cons of its design are. At least start to skim through either #3 or #4 (the beginning parts of each of these surveys get at the basic issues)

For later in the week, you are required to read a few more things and make additional postings describing what you’ve read:

  • everyone should “read” either 3 or 4 (don’t read them in detail, mainly skim through the headings to understand the basic problems and get the basic designs)
  • if you’re a CS grad student, #7 is requited. otherwise, it’s recommended only if you’re pretty technically minded.
  • either 6, 8 or 10.
  • if you’re an 838 student and did not read #7, you can read  6,8,9 or 10

More simply: everyone reads 3 or 4. If you’re an 838 student pick 2 from 6-10 (if you’re a CS student you must pick #7). If you’re a 638 student, you can pick 1 from 6,8, 10. You are welcome to read more. Be sure to be clear about what you read, and what you’ve gotten out of it.

Here is the long list:

  1. Chapter 9, “Arrange Networks and Trees” in Munzner.
  2. (actually, the web page is, but it is down at the moment)
  3. Herman, I., Melancon, G., & Marshall, M. S. (2000). Graph visualization and navigation in information visualization: A survey. IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics, 6(1), 24-43. doi:10.1109/2945.841119 (official IEE Version) (author’s version)
    This is an old survey, but it gets at the core issues really well. It’s a little less intimidating than #4, but maybe not as current.
  4. von Landesberger, T., Kuijper, A., Schreck, T., Kohlhammer, J., van Wijk, J. J., Fekete, J.-D., & Fellner, D. W. (2011). Visual Analysis of Large Graphs: State-of-the-Art and Future Research Challenges. Computer Graphics Forum, 30(6), no-no. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8659.2011.01898.x (official version) (authors’s copy/authors’s copy 2) – This is a rather intimidating survey. Read it to get a sense of what the basic methods are – don’t try to get at all the details and subproblems and … Everyone should read this one (or at least skim through it).
  5. Tamara Munzner. 15 Views of a Node-Link Graph: An InfoVis Portfolio google06:Google TechTalks, Mountain View CA, 6/06 Talk video (Google video format) (slides)
    I don’t like sitting through the whole hour, so I wouldn’t require it – but I think it gets the point across that there are lots of design choices and options. Plus, you’ll get a sense of the person behind the book (although, this was almost a decade ago).
  6. “Hierarchical Edge Bundles: Visualization of Adjacency Relations in Hierarchical Data” (official version) (via UW proxy)
    Danny Holten, IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics (TVCG; Proceedings of Vis/InfoVis 2006), Vol. 12, No. 5, Pages 741 – 748, 2006.
    An important method for dealing with complicated graphs. Several people “re-invented it” for their design challenges.
  7. Scalable, Versatile and Simple Constrained Graph Layout. Tim Dwyer. EuroVis 2009. (pdf)
    It’s a modern take on graph layout. the method gives a sense of the evolution and all the methods that came before it). This might be a little too CS-technical for most people.
  8. Graham, M., & Kennedy, J. (2009). A survey of multiple tree visualisation. Information Visualization, 9(4), 235-252. doi:10.1057/ivs.2009.29 (as IVS sample paper) (official page)
    It’s specific to trees. And it focuses on the problem of comparing multiple trees. But it does a nice job of discussing the issues and design space.
  9. Purchase, Pilcher, and Plimmer. Graph Drawing Aesthetics—Created by Users, Not Algorithms. TVCG 18(1) 2010. (ieee-explore) (via UW proxy)
    This is part of a series of papers that explored how different choices in the appearance of graph layout effects people’s ability to read them. This one had people draw them by hand. Unfortunately, no one paper tells the whole story.
  10. Ware, Colin, Helen Purchase, Linda Colpoys, and Matthew McGill. “Cognitive Measurements of Graph Aesthetics.” Information Visualization 1, no. 2 (June 1, 2002): 103–10. doi:10.1057/palgrave.ivs.9500013. (official) (author)
    An older paper, that might be a more interesting part of the story than #9.
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