, Volume 11, Issue 4, pp 379-403

Edge crossings in drawings of bipartite graphs

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Systems engineers have recently shown interest in algorithms for drawing directed graphs so that they are easy to understand and remember. Each of the commonly used methods has a step which aims to adjust the drawing to decrease the number of arc crossings. We show that the most popular strategy involves an NP-complete problem regarding the minimization of the number of arcs in crossings in a bipartite graph. The performance of the commonly employed “barycenter” heuristic for this problem is analyzed. An alternative method, the “median” heuristic, is proposed and analyzed. The new method is shown to compare favorably with the old in terms of performance guarantees. As a bonus, we show that the median heuristic performs well with regard to the total length of the arcs in the drawing.

Communicated by F. Thomson Leighton.