# path

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A path in a graph is a finite sequence  of alternating vertices and edges, beginning and ending with a vertex, $v_{1}e_{1}v_{2}e_{2}v_{3}\dots e_{n-1}v_{n}$ such that every consecutive pair of vertices $v_{x}$ and $v_{x+1}$ are adjacent and $e_{x}$ is incident  with $v_{x}$ and with $v_{x+1}$. Typically, the edges may be omitted when writing a path (e.g., $v_{1}v_{2}v_{3}\dots v_{n}$) since only one edge of a graph may connect two adjacent vertices. In a multigraph  , however, the choice of edge may be significant.

The length of a path is the number of edges in it.

Consider the following graph:

 $\xymatrix{A\ar@{-}[r]&B\ar@{-}[d]\\ D\ar@{-}[u]&C\ar@{-}[l]}$

Paths include (but are certainly not limited to) $ABCD$ (length 3), $ABCDA$ (length 4), and $ABABABABADCBA$ (length 12). $ABD$ is not a path since $B$ is not adjacent to $D$.

Consider this digraph:

 $\xymatrix{G\ar[r]\ar[d]&H\ar[d]\ar[l]\\ J&I\ar[l]}$

$GHIJ$, $GJ$, and $GHGHGH$ are all valid paths. $GHJ$ is not a valid path because $H$ and $J$ are not connected. $GJI$ is not a valid path because the edge connecting $I$ to $J$ has the opposite orientation.

Title path Path1 2013-03-22 12:16:49 2013-03-22 12:16:49 CWoo (3771) CWoo (3771) 8 CWoo (3771) Definition msc 05C38 ClosedPath path length