Force-Directed Embedding of Scale-Free Networks in the Hyperbolic Plane

Authors Thomas Bläsius, Tobias Friedrich , Maximilian Katzmann

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Author Details

Thomas Bläsius
  • Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany
Tobias Friedrich
  • Hasso Plattner Institute, University of Potsdam, Germany
Maximilian Katzmann
  • Hasso Plattner Institute, University of Potsdam, Germany

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Thomas Bläsius, Tobias Friedrich, and Maximilian Katzmann. Force-Directed Embedding of Scale-Free Networks in the Hyperbolic Plane. In 19th International Symposium on Experimental Algorithms (SEA 2021). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 190, pp. 22:1-22:18, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2021)


Force-directed drawing algorithms are the most commonly used approach to visualize networks. While they are usually very robust, the performance of Euclidean spring embedders decreases if the graph exhibits the high level of heterogeneity that typically occurs in scale-free real-world networks. As heterogeneity naturally emerges from hyperbolic geometry (in fact, scale-free networks are often perceived to have an underlying hyperbolic geometry), it is natural to embed them into the hyperbolic plane instead. Previous techniques that produce hyperbolic embeddings usually make assumptions about the given network, which (if not met) impairs the quality of the embedding. It is still an open problem to adapt force-directed embedding algorithms to make use of the heterogeneity of the hyperbolic plane, while also preserving their robustness. We identify fundamental differences between the behavior of spring embedders in Euclidean and hyperbolic space, and adapt the technique to take advantage of the heterogeneity of the hyperbolic plane.

Subject Classification

ACM Subject Classification
  • Theory of computation → Random projections and metric embeddings
  • force-directed drawing algorithms
  • spring embedding
  • hyperbolic space


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