What Are the Various Types of Graphs in Data Structure?


Angela Bailey

Graphs are an essential data structure used to represent relationships between various entities. They are versatile and can be used to solve a wide range of problems. In this article, we will explore the various types of graphs in data structure and understand their characteristics and applications.

Directed Graphs

A directed graph, also known as a digraph, is a graph in which edges have a direction associated with them. Each edge in a directed graph has an origin vertex and a destination vertex. This means that the relationship between vertices is asymmetrical, and there can be one-way connections.


  • Edges have a direction
  • Relationship between vertices is asymmetrical
  • Can represent one-way connections or dependencies


  • Social networks: Directed graphs can be used to model relationships on social media platforms, where friendships or following relationships are not always mutual.
  • Web pages: Directed graphs can be used to represent hyperlinks between web pages, allowing search engines to crawl through websites effectively.
  • Traffic networks: Directed graphs can represent the flow of traffic on roads, helping in optimizing routes and predicting congestion patterns.

Undirected Graphs

An undirected graph is a graph in which edges have no direction associated with them. The relationship between vertices is symmetrical, allowing for bi-directional connections.


  • Edges have no direction
  • The relationship between vertices is symmetrical
  • All connections are bi-directional


  • Networks: Undirected graphs can represent networks of communication, transportation, or infrastructure where connections are bidirectional.
  • Recommendation systems: Undirected graphs can be used to model user-item interactions in recommendation systems, enabling personalized suggestions based on similar user preferences.
  • Molecular structures: Undirected graphs can represent molecular structures in chemistry, aiding in understanding the arrangement of atoms and bonds.

Weighted Graphs

A weighted graph is a graph where each edge has a weight or cost associated with it. These weights represent the significance or distance between vertices.


  • Edges have weights or costs
  • The weight represents significance or distance between vertices
  • Can be directed or undirected


  • Shortest path algorithms: Weighted graphs are commonly used in finding the shortest path between two vertices, such as in navigation systems or network routing protocols.
  • Scheduling problems: Weighted graphs can model tasks with varying durations or costs, helping optimize schedules and resource allocations.
  • Traffic flow optimization: Weighted graphs can represent traffic flows with different weights on various roads, assisting in traffic optimization and congestion management.

Cyclic Graphs

A cyclic graph is a graph that contains at least one cycle. A cycle is a path that starts and ends at the same vertex, allowing for loops within the graph structure.


  • Contains at least one cycle
  • Allows loops within the graph structure
  • Can be directed or undirected


  • Process modeling: Cyclic graphs can represent processes or workflows with loops, enabling modeling of iterative steps.
  • Scheduling problems: Cyclic graphs can be used to model tasks with dependencies, where cyclic relationships indicate circular dependencies.
  • Economic modeling: Cyclic graphs can represent economic systems, where feedback loops and interdependencies are crucial for understanding complex dynamics.

Acyclic Graphs

An acyclic graph is a graph that does not contain any cycles. It represents a directed relationship between vertices without the possibility of loops.


  • Does not contain any cycles
  • No loops within the graph structure
  • Can only be directed


  • Dependency resolution: Acyclic graphs are commonly used in dependency management systems to resolve dependencies between software packages or modules.
  • Scheduling problems: Acyclic graphs can model tasks with dependencies without circular relationships, making it easier to schedule and optimize resources.
  • Evolutionary relationships: Acyclic graphs can represent evolutionary trees or hierarchies, showcasing the lineage and relationships between species or concepts.

In conclusion, graphs play a vital role in representing relationships and solving complex problems. Understanding the different types of graphs allows us to choose the most suitable representation for specific scenarios, leading to efficient algorithms and solutions.

Whether it’s directed or undirected, weighted or unweighted, cyclic or acyclic, each type of graph has its unique characteristics and applications. Incorporating these visual elements in your HTML tutorial will make it engaging and easy to follow.

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