What Is Adjacent Vertex in Data Structure?


Heather Bennett

What Is Adjacent Vertex in Data Structure?

In data structures, an adjacent vertex refers to a vertex that is directly connected to another vertex in a graph. It plays a crucial role in understanding the relationships and connections between vertices in various graph-based algorithms.

Understanding Vertices and Edges

Before we delve into adjacent vertices, let’s quickly recap what vertices and edges are in a graph. In graph theory, a graph consists of two main components:

  • Vertices: Also known as nodes, vertices represent the fundamental elements of a graph. Each vertex can hold data or be connected to other vertices through edges.
  • Edges: Edges are the connections between vertices. They establish relationships and define how two vertices are related to each other.

The Concept of Adjacency

The concept of adjacency is central to understanding graphs. Two vertices are said to be adjacent if there exists an edge that connects them. The set of all adjacent vertices for a particular vertex forms its adjacent list.

To better illustrate this concept, let’s consider an example:

      A --- B
     / \   /
    /   \ /
   C --- D

In this example, the graph consists of four vertices: A, B, C, and D. The edges connect A to B, A to C, B to D, and C to D.

Adjacent Vertices Example:

  • A: B, C
  • B: A, D
  • C: A, D
  • D: B, C

From the example, we can observe that:

  • A is adjacent to B and C.
  • B is adjacent to A and D.
  • C is adjacent to A and D.
  • D is adjacent to B and C.

Applications of Adjacent Vertices

The concept of adjacent vertices finds applications in various graph-based algorithms, including:

  • Breadth-First Search (BFS): In BFS, the algorithm explores all the adjacent vertices of a vertex before moving on to the next level of vertices. This ensures that all nodes at a particular level are visited before moving deeper into the graph.
  • Depth-First Search (DFS): DFS, on the other hand, explores as far as possible along each branch before backtracking. It uses a stack data structure to keep track of vertices and their respective adjacent vertices.
  • Minimum Spanning Trees (MSTs): MST algorithms like Prim’s Algorithm and Kruskal’s Algorithm use information about adjacent vertices to find the minimum weight spanning tree in a connected weighted graph.

In Conclusion

In data structures, understanding the concept of adjacent vertices is crucial when working with graphs. By knowing which vertices are directly connected, we can efficiently traverse graphs and solve various problems using graph-based algorithms. The ability to identify and utilize adjacent vertices opens up a wide range of possibilities in graph theory and computer science as a whole.

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