We consider graph drawings in which vertices are assigned to layers and edges are drawn as straight line-segments between vertices on adjacent layers. We prove that graphs admitting crossing-free h-layer drawings (for fixed h) have bounded pathwidth.We then use a path decomposition as the basis for a linear-time algorithm to decide if a graph has a crossing-free h-layer drawing (for fixed h). This algorithm is extended to solve related problems, including allowing at most k crossings, or re- moving at most r edges to leave a crossing-free drawing (for fixed k or r). If the number of crossings or deleted edges is a non-fixed parameter then these problems are NP-complete. For each setting, we can also permit downward drawings of di- rected graphs and drawings in which edges may span multiple layers, in which case either the total span or the maximum span of edges can be minimized. In contrast to the Sugiyama method for layered graph drawing, our algorithms do not assume a preassignment of the vertices to layers.
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