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Prim’s Minimum Spanning Tree Algorithm

Everything Under The Sun

The problem is to find the minimum weight spanning tree (i.e., a connected acyclic subgraph) of an undirected weighted graph. Earlier, I described the Kruskal’s algorithm to find the MST in time O(E log V). Prim’s algorithm is another greedy algorithm that finds an MST in time O(E log V). The difference is that the Prim’s algorithm grows an MST, starting from a single vertex, always adding the least-cost edge from a tree vertex to a non-tree vertex to the current set of edges in the MST.

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