Minimum Spanning Tree in Data Structures

A spanning tree is a subset of an undirected Graph that has all the vertices connected by minimum number of edges.

If all the vertices are connected in a graph, then there exists at least one spanning tree. In a graph, there may exist more than one spanning tree.

Minimum Spanning Tree

A Minimum Spanning Tree (MST) is a subset of edges of a connected weighted undirected graph that connects all the vertices together with the minimum possible total edge weight. To derive an MST, Prim’s algorithm or Kruskal’s algorithm can be used. Hence, we will discuss Prim’s algorithm in this chapter.

As we have discussed, one graph may have more than one spanning tree. If there are n number of vertices, the spanning tree should have n - 1 number of edges. In this context, if each edge of the graph is associated with a weight and there exists more than one spanning tree, we need to find the minimum spanning tree of the graph.

Moreover, if there exist any duplicate weighted edges, the graph may have multiple minimum spanning tree.

In the above graph, we have shown a spanning tree though it’s not the minimum spanning tree. The cost of this spanning tree is (5 + 7 + 3 + 3 + 5 + 8 + 3 + 4) = 38.

Updated on: 27-Aug-2019

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