, Volume 16, Issue 1, pp 33–59 | Cite as

Maximum planar subgraphs and nice embeddings: Practical layout tools

  • M. Jünger
  • P. Mutzel


In automatic graph drawing a given graph has to be laid out in the plane, usually according to a number of topological and aesthetic constraints. Nice drawings for sparse nonplanar graphs can be achieved by determining a maximum planar subgraph and augmenting an embedding of this graph. This approach appears to be of limited value in practice, because the maximum planar subgraph problem is NP-hard.

We attack the maximum planar subgraph problem with a branch-and-cut technique which gives us quite good, and in many cases provably optimum, solutions for sparse graphs and very dense graphs. In the theoretical part of the paper, the polytope of all planar subgraphs of a graphG is defined and studied. All subgraphs of a graphG, which are subdivisions ofK5 orK3,3, turn out to define facets of this polytope. For cliques contained inG, the Euler inequalities turn out to be facet-defining for the planar subgraph polytope. Moreover, we introduce the subdivision inequalities,V2k inequalities, and the flower inequalities, all of which are facet-defining for the polytope. Furthermore, the composition of inequalities by 2-sums is investigated.

We also present computational experience with a branch-and-cut algorithm for the above problem. Our approach is based on an algorithm which searches for forbidden substructures in a graph that contains a subdivision ofK5 orK3,3. These structures give us inequalities which are used as cutting planes.

Finally, we try to convince the reader that the computation of maximum planar subgraphs is indeed a practical tool for finding nice embeddings by applying this method to graphs taken from the literature.

Key words

Maximum planar subgraph Planar subgraph polytope Facets Branch and cut 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Jünger
    • 1
  • P. Mutzel
    • 2
  1. 1.Institut für InformatikUniversität zu KölnKölnGermany
  2. 2.Max-Planck-Institut für InformatikSaarbrückenGermany

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