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Mathematics | Walks, Trails, Paths, Cycles and Circuits in Graph

Prerequisite – Graph Theory Basics – Set 1
1. Walk –
A walk is a sequence of vertices and edges of a graph i.e. if we traverse a graph then we get a walk.
Vertex can be repeated
Edges can be repeated

Here 1->2->3->4->2->1->3 is a walk

Walk can be open or closed. 
Walk can be repeated anything (edges or vertices).

2. Trail –
A Walk in which no edge is repeated then we get a trail
Vertex can be repeated
Edges not repeated



Here 1->3->8->6->3->2 is trail
Also 1->3->8->6->3->2->1 will be a closed trail

3. Circuit –
Traversing a graph such that not an edge is repeated but vertex can be repeated and it is closed also i.e. it is a closed trail.
Vertex can be repeated
Edge not repeated

Here 1->2->4->3->6->8->3->1 is a circuit

Circuit is a closed trail. 
These can have repeated vertices only.

4. Path –
It is a trail in which neither vertices nor edges are repeated i.e. if we traverse a graph such that we do not repeat a vertex and nor we repeat an edge.
Vertex not repeated
Edge not repeated

Here 6->8->3->1->2->4 is a Path

5. Cycle –
Traversing a graph such that we do not repeat a vertex nor we repeat a edge but the starting and ending vertex must be same i.e. we can repeat starting and ending vertex only then we get a cycle.
Vertex not repeated
Edge not repeated

Here 1->2->4->3->1 is a cycle.

Cycle is a closed path. 
These can not have repeat anything (neither edges nor vertices).

Note that for closed sequences start and end vertices are the only ones that can repeat.



This article is attributed to GeeksforGeeks.org

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