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I'm looking for info about a particular kind of graphing technique. Basically, you have a list of elements, and data indicating how closely related the elements are to each other. On the plot, elements that are closely related are plotted close to each other, and ones that are less related are drawn farther away. I'm trying to find out what this kind of graph is called and if there are any related good algorithms for it.

Sorry if this is a bad question, but this has been driving me nuts and it's impossible to search for.


Update: So it was a network graph I was looking for after all; I found this neat freeware tool called Gehpi that pretty much serves my needs. Thanks for the help!

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    $\begingroup$ My best guess would be a network graph, see an example here. $\endgroup$
    – Andy W
    Nov 26, 2012 at 19:43
  • $\begingroup$ Yeah, that's definitely in the same ballpark. I can't find much info about "network graphs" besides a few images... nothing on Wikipedia, etc. $\endgroup$
    – Andrew
    Nov 26, 2012 at 19:53
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    $\begingroup$ See the wikipedia page on graph drawing. That and perusing the questions here tagged networks will hopefully be a good start (if not at least to identify if that is what you are or are not interested in). $\endgroup$
    – Andy W
    Nov 26, 2012 at 20:01
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    $\begingroup$ For a discussion of some graph embedding and drawing algorithms found in software, see reference.wolfram.com/mathematica/tutorial/… and scroll down the middle starting at "Graph Drawing Algorithms". $\endgroup$
    – whuber
    Nov 26, 2012 at 20:56

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The general problem is often called low dimensional embedding or for your particular case, 2D embedding.

Isomap, Multi-dimensional Scaling, and Locally Linear Embedding are the names of three popular algorithms for the problem.

This has a nice visualization of some stock market data with a 2D embedding.

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I think you might want MultiDimensional Scaling (MDS). This takes a matrix (or one triangle of a matrix) of "distances" and gives a 2 dimensional (or other dimensional) set of points that represents those distances as close as possible.

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In general you may refer to cluster analysis where the distance between all elements is calculated. It could be also factor analysis or principal component. You can try to google for image showing above or simply statisitcal distance analysis plot and provide a link to the object describes your question.

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