A Generic Framework for Engineering Graph Canonization Algorithms

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The state-of-the-art tools for practical graph canonization are all based on the individualization-refinement paradigm, and their difference is primarily in the choice of heuristics they include and in the actual tool implementation. It is thus not possible to make a direct comparison of how individual algorithmic ideas affect the performance on different graph classes. We present an algorithmic software framework that facilitates implementation of heuristics as independent extensions to a common core algorithm. It therefore becomes easy to perform a detailed comparison of the performance and behavior of different algorithmic ideas. Implementations are provided of a range of algorithms for tree traversal, target cell selection, and node invariant, including choices from the literature and new variations. The framework readily supports extraction and visualization of detailed data from separate algorithm executions for subsequent analysis and development of new heuristics. Using collections of different graph classes, we investigate the effect of varying the selections of heuristics, often revealing exactly which individual algorithmic choice is responsible for particularly good or bad performance. On several benchmark collections, including a newly proposed class of difficult instances, we additionally find that our implementation performs better than the current state-of-the-art tools.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1.2
JournalACM Journal of Experimental Algorithmics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2020


  • Graph canonization
  • generic programming
  • graph isomorphism


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