What Is Order of Graph in Data Structure?

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Angela Bailey

The order of a graph in data structure refers to the number of vertices or nodes present in the graph. It is an essential concept that helps us understand the size or complexity of a graph. In this article, we will explore what order means in the context of graphs and how it relates to other graph properties.

Understanding Graphs

Before diving into the order of a graph, let’s quickly recap what a graph is. In computer science, a graph is a non-linear data structure composed of vertices (or nodes) and edges.

Vertices represent entities, while edges depict relationships between these entities. Graphs are widely used to model complex networks such as social networks, transportation systems, and computer networks.

Vertices and Edges

In a graph, vertices are usually represented by circles or dots, while edges are represented by lines connecting these vertices. Each edge connects two vertices and may have additional information associated with it, such as weight or direction.

Example:

Consider a simple social network where each person represents a vertex and their friendships represent edges. In this case, the vertices would be the individuals themselves (e.g., John, Sarah), and the edges would represent friendships (e., John is friends with Sarah).

The Order of a Graph

Now that we have refreshed our understanding of graphs let’s focus on the order. The order of a graph simply refers to the total number of vertices present in that particular graph.

Note:

  • The order of a graph is denoted by |V|.
  • V represents the set of all vertices in the given graph.

Example:

If we consider the above social network example again, with John, Sarah, and two other individuals (Michael and Emily), the order of this graph would be 4. This is because there are four vertices in the graph representing the four individuals.

Relation to Other Graph Properties

The order of a graph is closely related to other important graph properties such as size and degree.

Size of a Graph

The size of a graph refers to the total number of edges present in that particular graph. It is denoted by |E|, where E represents the set of all edges in the given graph.

Note:

  • In a simple undirected graph, each edge connects two distinct vertices. Therefore, the size of the graph is half the sum of degrees of all vertices.
  • In a directed graph, each edge connects an ordered pair of vertices. Thus, the size is equal to the sum of degrees.

Degree of a Vertex

The degree of a vertex refers to the number of edges incident on that vertex. In simple terms, it represents how many connections or relationships a vertex has with other vertices in the graph.

Note:

  • In an undirected graph, degree counts both incoming and outgoing edges connected to that vertex without considering direction.
  • In a directed graph, degree differentiates between incoming and outgoing edges.

Conclusion

The order of a graph provides valuable information about its size or complexity by counting the total number of vertices. Understanding this concept is fundamental when working with graphs and analyzing their properties. Additionally, knowing how order relates to other properties like size and degree helps us gain deeper insights into graphs’ structures and relationships within them.

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