Aesthetic discrimination of graph layouts
This paper addresses the following basic question: given two layouts of the same graph, which one is more aesthetically pleasing? We propose a neural network-based discriminator model trained on a labeled dataset that decides which of two layouts has a higher aesthetic quality. The feature vectors used as inputs to the model are based on known graph drawing quality metrics, classical statistics, information theoretical quantities, and two-point statistics inspired by methods of condensed matter physics. The large corpus of layout pairs used for training and testing is constructed using force-directed drawing algorithms and the layouts that naturally stem from the process of graph generation. It is further extended using data augmentation techniques. Our model demonstrates a mean prediction accuracy of 96.48%, outperforming discriminators based on stress and on the linear combination of popular quality metrics by a small but statistically significant margin.