TDANetVis: Suggesting temporal resolutions for graph visualization using zigzag persistent homology

by   Raphaël Tinarrage, et al.

Temporal graphs are commonly used to represent complex systems and track the evolution of their constituents over time. Visualizing these graphs is crucial as it allows one to quickly identify anomalies, trends, patterns, and other properties leading to better decision-making. In this context, the to-be-adopted temporal resolution is crucial in constructing and analyzing the layout visually. The choice of a resolution is critical, e.g., when dealing with temporally sparse graphs. In such cases, changing the temporal resolution by grouping events (i.e., edges) from consecutive timestamps, a technique known as timeslicing, can aid in the analysis and reveal patterns that might not be discernible otherwise. However, choosing a suitable temporal resolution is not trivial. In this paper, we propose TDANetVis, a methodology that suggests temporal resolutions potentially relevant for analyzing a given graph, i.e., resolutions that lead to substantial topological changes in the graph structure. To achieve this goal, TDANetVis leverages zigzag persistent homology, a well-established technique from Topological Data Analysis (TDA). To enhance visual graph analysis, TDANetVis also incorporates the colored barcode, a novel timeline-based visualization built on the persistence barcodes commonly used in TDA. We demonstrate the usefulness and effectiveness of TDANetVis through a usage scenario and a user study involving 27 participants.


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