Exploring the Design Space of Complex Network Visualization & Interaction in VR



A complex network models real world phenomena, such as the financial market, the healthcare system, or the twitter-sphere, where interactions between a large number (up to millions) of individual actors (nodes) are encoded within the interconnecting links. The resulting network is highly interconnected. The proper display of such complex networks is still an ongoing research challenge – one that gains increasing relevance with the rising availability of such network data as well as increasing interest in the exploration of the underlying information.

The goal of this project is to explore the potential of displaying and interacting with complex networks in virtual reality. The additional third dimension for displaying as well as the added benefit of depth perception through stereoscopic viewing of such networks yield a rich solution space that has yet to be properly explored.

In the scope of this project, we want to explore answers to questions such as, 
“Which node layout and edge routing approaches support understanding of relations and clusters in VR?”
“Which types of interaction metaphors can facilitate the exploration of a complex network in VR?”


Your task will be the extension of a web-based VR framework for the display of and interaction with large network data. This includes but is not limited to implementing:

  • three dimensional graph layout and edge routing algorithms
  • VR navigation and interaction metaphors
  • node and edge aggregation strategies
  • support for dynamic change of the network structure

These tasks can be partitioned into smaller work packages or scaled up, depending on whether the implementation is carried out within the scope of a bachelor or master thesis.


  • Knowledge of the English language (the final report should be in English)
  • Knowledge and interest in computer graphics (3D rendering) and network visualization
  • Knowledge of javascript and related libraries, such as webpack, node.js
  • Interest and optimally experience with VR applications / programming


This project will be realized in a collaboration between the Institute of Visual Computing &
Human-Centered Technology (formerly Institute of Computer Graphics and Algorithms) at the TU Wien and the Complexity Science Hub (CSH) Vienna.

You will be mentored during regular meetings at the CSH where a state of the art VR setup for testing the implementation is available. The duration of the implementation and writeup of the thesis depends on the prior knowledge and commitment of the student, but the estimated duration is one semester for a bachelor thesis and two semesters for a master thesis.

Please contact sorger@csh.ac.at if you are interested in joining this project.

You can find more information on the Complexity Science Hub on the official webpage: