Self-organization applied to dynamic network layout

Authors: Markus Michael Geipel

International Journal of Modern Physics C (2007)

Abstract

As networks and their structure have become a major field of research, a strong demand for network visualization has emerged. We address this challenge by formalizing the well established spring layout in terms of dynamic equations. We thus open up the design space for new algorithms. Drawing from the knowledge of systems design, we derive a layout algorithm that remedies several drawbacks of the original spring layout. This new algorithm relies on the balancing of two antagonistic forces. We thus call it $$em arf for \"attractive and repulsive forces\". It is, as we claim, particularly suited for a dynamic layout of smaller networks ($n < 10^3$). We back this claim with several application examples from on going complex systems research.