Graph Thumbnails: Identifying and Comparing Multiple Graphs at a Glance

Vahan Yoghourdjian, Tim Dwyer, Karsten Klein, Kimbal Marriott, Michael Wybrow

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    28 Citations (Scopus)


    We propose Graph Thumbnails, small icon-like visualisations of the high-level structure of network data. Graph Thumbnails are designed to be legible in small multiples to support rapid browsing within large graph corpora. Compared to existing graph-visualisation techniques our representation has several advantages: (1) the visualisation can be computed in linear time; (2) it is canonical in the sense that isomorphic graphs will always have identical thumbnails; and (3) it provides precise information about the graph structure. We report the results of two user studies. The first study compares Graph Thumbnails to node-link and matrix views for identifying similar graphs. The second study investigates the comprehensibility of the different representations. We demonstrate the usefulness of this representation for summarising the evolution of protein-protein interaction networks across a range of species.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-14
    Number of pages14
    JournalIEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics
    Issue number18
    Publication statusPublished - 2018


    • circle packing
    • k-connected
    • k-core decomposition
    • large networks
    • network identification
    • network visualisation

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