What Is in-Degree of Node in Data Structure?


Larry Thompson

What Is in-Degree of Node in Data Structure?

When working with graphs in data structures, it is important to understand the concept of the in-degree of a node. The in-degree of a node refers to the number of edges that are directed towards that particular node. In other words, it represents the number of incoming edges to a node in a directed graph.

Directed Graphs

Before we dive into understanding the in-degree of a node, let’s first understand what directed graphs are. A directed graph consists of a set of nodes or vertices connected by edges, where each edge has a specific direction. Unlike an undirected graph, where edges have no specific direction, directed graphs represent relationships with an arrow indicating the direction from one node to another.

In a directed graph, each edge connects two nodes and has a starting point called the tail and an ending point called the head. The head represents the destination or Target node towards which the edge is pointing.

In-Degree Definition

The in-degree of a node is defined as the count of incoming edges or arcs that are directed towards that particular node. It represents how many other nodes have connections pointing towards it.

For example, consider a simple directed graph with three nodes A, B, and C. If there is an edge from B to A and an edge from C to A, then the in-degree of node A would be 2 because two edges are coming into A.

In-Degree Calculation

To calculate the in-degree of a node programmatically, we need to traverse through all the edges present in the graph and count how many edges are pointing towards the node of interest. This can be done by iterating through all the edges and checking if the destination of each edge matches the node we are interested in.

Here’s an example code snippet in Python:

def calculate_in_degree(graph, node):
    in_degree = 0
    for edge in graph.edges:
        if edge.head == node:
            in_degree += 1
    return in_degree

In this code, we iterate through all the edges in the graph and check if the head of each edge matches the given node. If it does, we increment the in-degree count by 1.


The concept of in-degree is widely used in various applications such as:

  • Web page ranking algorithms, like PageRank, that consider incoming links to determine the importance of a web page.
  • Dependency resolution systems that use directed graphs to represent dependencies between tasks or modules.
  • Social network analysis to identify influential nodes with a high number of incoming connections.


The in-degree of a node plays a crucial role when working with directed graphs. It represents the number of incoming edges or connections to a specific node. By understanding and calculating the in-degree, we can analyze various graph-related problems and make informed decisions based on their incoming relationships.

So next time you encounter a directed graph problem, remember to consider and utilize the concept of in-degree!

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