# Introduction to Disjoint Set Data Structure or Union-Find Algorithm

• Difficulty Level : Medium
• Last Updated : 25 Jan, 2023

A disjoint-set data structure is defined as a data structure that keeps track of a set of elements partitioned into a number of disjoint (non-overlapping) subsets.

A union-find algorithm is an algorithm that performs two useful operations on such a data structure:

• Find: Determine which subset a particular element is in. This can be used for determining if two elements are in the same subset.
• Union: Join two subsets into a single subset. Here first we have to check if the two subsets belong to same set. If no, then we cannot perform union.

## Example:

Let us check an example to understand how the data structure is applied. For this consider the following problem statement

Problem: Given an undirected graph, the task is to check if the graph contains a cycle or not.

Examples:

Input: The following is the graph

Output: Yes
Explanation: There is a cycle of vertices {0, 1, 2}.

Recommended Practice

We already have discussed an algorithm to detect cycle in directed graph. Here Union-Find Algorithm can be used to check whether an undirected graph contains cycle or not. The idea is that,

Initially create subsets containing only a single node which are the parent of itself. Now while traversing through the edges, if the two end nodes of the edge belongs to the same set then they form a cycle. Otherwise, perform union to merge the subsets together.

Note: This method assumes that the graph doesn’t contain any self-loops.

Illustration:

Follow the below illustration for a better understanding

Let us consider the following graph:

Use an array to keep track of the subsets and which nodes belong to that subset. Let the array be parent[].

Initially, all slots of parent array are initialized to hold the same values as the node.

parent[] = {0, 1, 2}. Also when the value of the node and its parent are same, that is the root of that subset of nodes.

Now process all edges one by one.
Edge 0-1:
=> Find the subsets in which vertices 0 and 1 are.
=> 0 and 1 belongs to subset 0 and 1.
=> Since they are in different subsets, take the union of them.
=> For taking the union, either make node 0 as parent of node 1 or vice-versa.
=> 1 is made parent of 0 (1 is now representative of subset {0, 1})
=> parent[] = {1, 1, 2}

Edge 1-2:
=> 1 is in subset 1 and 2 is in subset 2.
=> Since they are in different subsets, take union.
=> Make 2 as parent of 1. (2 is now representative of subset {0, 1, 2})
=> parent[] = {1, 2, 2}

Edge 0-2:
=> 0 is in subset 2 and 2 is also in subset 2.
=> Because 1 is parent of 0 and 2 is parent of 1. So 0 also belongs to subset 2
=> Hence, including this edge forms a cycle.

Therefore, the above graph contains a cycle.

Follow the below steps to implement the idea:

• Initially create a parent[] array to keep track of the subsets.
• Traverse through all the edges:
• Check to which subset each of the nodes belong to by finding the parent[] array till the node and the parent are the same.
• If the two nodes belong to the same subset then they belong to a cycle.
• Otherwise, perform union operation on those two subsets.
• If no cycle is found, return false.

Below is the implementation of the above approach.

## C++

 `// A union-find algorithm to detect cycle in a graph``#include ``using` `namespace` `std;` `// a structure to represent an edge in graph``class` `Edge {``public``:``    ``int` `src, dest;``};` `// a structure to represent a graph``class` `Graph {``public``:``    ``// V-> Number of vertices, E-> Number of edges``    ``int` `V, E;` `    ``// graph is represented as an array of edges``    ``Edge* edge;``};` `// Creates a graph with V vertices and E edges``Graph* createGraph(``int` `V, ``int` `E)``{``    ``Graph* graph = ``new` `Graph();``    ``graph->V = V;``    ``graph->E = E;` `    ``graph->edge = ``new` `Edge[graph->E * ``sizeof``(Edge)];` `    ``return` `graph;``}` `// A utility function to find the subset of an element i``int` `find(``int` `parent[], ``int` `i)``{``    ``if` `(parent[i] == i)``        ``return` `i;``    ``return` `find(parent, parent[i]);``}` `// A utility function to do union of two subsets``void` `Union(``int` `parent[], ``int` `x, ``int` `y) { parent[x] = y; }` `// The main function to check whether a given graph contains``// cycle or not``int` `isCycle(Graph* graph)``{``    ``// Allocate memory for creating V subsets``    ``int``* parent = ``new` `int``[graph->V];` `    ``// Initialize all subsets as single element sets``    ``for``(``int` `i = 0; i < graph->V; i++) {``        ``parent[i] = i;``    ``}` `    ``// Iterate through all edges of graph, find subset of``    ``// both vertices of every edge, if both subsets are``    ``// same, then there is cycle in graph.``    ``for` `(``int` `i = 0; i < graph->E; ++i) {``        ``int` `x = find(parent, graph->edge[i].src);``        ``int` `y = find(parent, graph->edge[i].dest);` `        ``if` `(x == y)``            ``return` `1;` `        ``Union(parent, x, y);``    ``}``    ``return` `0;``}` `// Driver code``int` `main()``{``    ``/* Let us create the following graph``        ``0``        ``| \``        ``|  \``        ``1---2 */``    ``int` `V = 3, E = 3;``    ``Graph* graph = createGraph(V, E);` `    ``// add edge 0-1``    ``graph->edge[0].src = 0;``    ``graph->edge[0].dest = 1;` `    ``// add edge 1-2``    ``graph->edge[1].src = 1;``    ``graph->edge[1].dest = 2;` `    ``// add edge 0-2``    ``graph->edge[2].src = 0;``    ``graph->edge[2].dest = 2;` `    ``if` `(isCycle(graph))``        ``cout << ``"Graph contains cycle"``;``    ``else``        ``cout << ``"Graph doesn't contain cycle"``;` `    ``return` `0;``}` `// This code is contributed by rathbhupendra`

## C

 `// A union-find algorithm to detect cycle in a graph``#include ``#include ``#include ``  ` `// a structure to represent an edge in graph``struct` `Edge {``    ``int` `src, dest;``};``  ` `// a structure to represent a graph``struct` `Graph {``    ``// V-> Number of vertices, E-> Number of edges``    ``int` `V, E;``  ` `    ``// graph is represented as an array of edges``    ``struct` `Edge* edge;``};``  ` `// Creates a graph with V vertices and E edges``struct` `Graph* createGraph(``int` `V, ``int` `E)``{``    ``struct` `Graph* graph``        ``= (``struct` `Graph*)``malloc``(``sizeof``(``struct` `Graph));``    ``graph->V = V;``    ``graph->E = E;``  ` `    ``graph->edge = (``struct` `Edge*)``malloc``(``        ``graph->E * ``sizeof``(``struct` `Edge));``  ` `    ``return` `graph;``}``  ` `// A utility function to find the subset of an element i``int` `find(``int` `parent[], ``int` `i)``{``    ``if` `(parent[i] == -1)``        ``return` `i;``    ``return` `find(parent, parent[i]);``}``  ` `// A utility function to do union of two subsets``void` `Union(``int` `parent[], ``int` `x, ``int` `y)``{``    ``parent[y] = x;``}``  ` `// The main function to check whether a given graph contains``// cycle or not``int` `isCycle(``struct` `Graph* graph)``{``    ``// Allocate memory for creating V subsets``    ``int``* parent = (``int``*)``malloc``(graph->V);``  ` `    ``// Initialize all subsets as single element sets``    ``memset``(parent, -1, ``sizeof``(graph->V));``  ` `    ``// Iterate through all edges of graph, find subset of``    ``// both vertices of every edge, if both subsets are``    ``// same, then there is cycle in graph.``    ``for` `(``int` `i = 0; i < graph->E; ++i) {``        ``int` `x = find(parent, graph->edge[i].src);``        ``int` `y = find(parent, graph->edge[i].dest);``    ` `        ``if` `(x == y && (x!=-1 && y!=-1))``            ``return` `1;``  ` `        ``Union(parent, x,y);``    ``}``    ``return` `0;``}``  ` `// Driver program to test above functions``int` `main()``{``    ``/* Let us create the following graph``        ``0``        ``| \``        ``|  \``        ``1---2 */``    ``int` `V = 3, E = 3;``    ``struct` `Graph* graph = createGraph(V, E);``  ` `    ``// // add edge 0-1``    ``graph->edge[0].src = 0;``    ``graph->edge[0].dest = 1;``  ` `    ``// add edge 1-2``    ``graph->edge[1].src = 1;``    ``graph->edge[1].dest = 2;` `    ``//add edge 0-2``    ``graph->edge[2].src = 0;``    ``graph->edge[2].dest = 2;``  ` `    ``if` `(isCycle(graph))``        ``printf``(``"Graph contains cycle"``);``    ``else``        ``printf``(``"Graph doesn't contain cycle"``);``  ` `    ``return` `0;``}`

## Java

 `// Java Program for union-find algorithm to detect cycle in``// a graph``import` `java.io.*;``import` `java.lang.*;``import` `java.util.*;` `public` `class` `Graph {``    ``int` `V, E; ``// V-> no. of vertices & E->no.of edges``    ``Edge edge[]; ``// /collection of all edges` `    ``class` `Edge {``        ``int` `src, dest;``    ``};` `    ``// Creates a graph with V vertices and E edges``    ``Graph(``int` `v, ``int` `e)``    ``{``        ``V = v;``        ``E = e;``        ``edge = ``new` `Edge[E];``        ``for` `(``int` `i = ``0``; i < e; ++i)``            ``edge[i] = ``new` `Edge();``    ``}` `    ``// A utility function to find the subset of an element i``    ``int` `find(``int` `parent[], ``int` `i)``    ``{``        ``if` `(parent[i] == i)``            ``return` `i;``        ``return` `find(parent, parent[i]);``    ``}` `    ``// A utility function to do union of two subsets``    ``void` `Union(``int` `parent[], ``int` `x, ``int` `y)``    ``{``        ``parent[x] = y;``    ``}` `    ``// The main function to check whether a given graph``    ``// contains cycle or not``    ``int` `isCycle(Graph graph)``    ``{``        ``// Allocate memory for creating V subsets``        ``int` `parent[] = ``new` `int``[graph.V];` `        ``// Initialize all subsets as single element sets``        ``for` `(``int` `i = ``0``; i < graph.V; ++i)``            ``parent[i] = i;` `        ``// Iterate through all edges of graph, find subset``        ``// of both vertices of every edge, if both subsets``        ``// are same, then there is cycle in graph.``        ``for` `(``int` `i = ``0``; i < graph.E; ++i) {``            ``int` `x = graph.find(parent, graph.edge[i].src);``            ``int` `y = graph.find(parent, graph.edge[i].dest);` `            ``if` `(x == y)``                ``return` `1``;` `            ``graph.Union(parent, x, y);``        ``}``        ``return` `0``;``    ``}` `    ``// Driver Method``    ``public` `static` `void` `main(String[] args)``    ``{``        ``/* Let us create the following graph``        ``0``        ``| \``        ``|  \``        ``1---2 */``        ``int` `V = ``3``, E = ``3``;``        ``Graph graph = ``new` `Graph(V, E);` `        ``// add edge 0-1``        ``graph.edge[``0``].src = ``0``;``        ``graph.edge[``0``].dest = ``1``;` `        ``// add edge 1-2``        ``graph.edge[``1``].src = ``1``;``        ``graph.edge[``1``].dest = ``2``;` `        ``// add edge 0-2``        ``graph.edge[``2``].src = ``0``;``        ``graph.edge[``2``].dest = ``2``;` `        ``if` `(graph.isCycle(graph) == ``1``)``            ``System.out.println(``"Graph contains cycle"``);``        ``else``            ``System.out.println(``                ``"Graph doesn't contain cycle"``);``    ``}``}`

## Python3

 `# Python Program for union-find algorithm``# to detect cycle in a undirected graph``# we have one egde for any two vertex``# i.e 1-2 is either 1-2 or 2-1 but not both` `from` `collections ``import` `defaultdict` `# This class represents a undirected graph``# using adjacency list representation`  `class` `Graph:` `    ``def` `__init__(``self``, vertices):``        ``self``.V ``=` `vertices  ``# No. of vertices``        ``self``.graph ``=` `defaultdict(``list``)  ``# default dictionary to store graph` `    ``# function to add an edge to graph``    ``def` `addEdge(``self``, u, v):``        ``self``.graph[u].append(v)` `    ``# A utility function to find the subset of an element i``    ``def` `find_parent(``self``, parent, i):``        ``if` `parent[i] ``=``=` `i:``            ``return` `i``        ``if` `parent[i] !``=` `i:``            ``return` `self``.find_parent(parent, parent[i])` `    ``# A utility function to do union of two subsets``    ``def` `union(``self``, parent, x, y):``        ``parent[x] ``=` `y` `    ``# The main function to check whether a given graph``    ``# contains cycle or not` `    ``def` `isCyclic(``self``):` `        ``# Allocate memory for creating V subsets and``        ``# Initialize all subsets as single element sets``        ``parent ``=` `[``0``]``*``(``self``.V)``        ``for` `i ``in` `range``(``self``.V):``            ``parent[i] ``=` `i` `        ``# Iterate through all edges of graph, find subset of both``        ``# vertices of every edge, if both subsets are same, then``        ``# there is cycle in graph.``        ``for` `i ``in` `self``.graph:``            ``for` `j ``in` `self``.graph[i]:``                ``x ``=` `self``.find_parent(parent, i)``                ``y ``=` `self``.find_parent(parent, j)``                ``if` `x ``=``=` `y:``                    ``return` `True``                ``self``.union(parent, x, y)`  `# Create a graph given in the above diagram``g ``=` `Graph(``3``)``g.addEdge(``0``, ``1``)``g.addEdge(``1``, ``2``)``g.addEdge(``2``, ``0``)` `if` `g.isCyclic():``    ``print``(``"Graph contains cycle"``)``else``:``    ``print``(``"Graph does not contain cycle "``)` `# This code is contributed by Neelam Yadav`

## C#

 `// C# Program for union-find``// algorithm to detect cycle``// in a graph``using` `System;``class` `Graph {` `    ``// V-> no. of vertices &``    ``// E->no.of edges``    ``public` `int` `V, E;` `    ``// collection of all edges``    ``public` `Edge[] edge;` `    ``public` `class` `Edge {``        ``public` `int` `src, dest;``    ``};` `    ``// Creates a graph with V``    ``// vertices and E edges``    ``public` `Graph(``int` `v, ``int` `e)``    ``{``        ``V = v;``        ``E = e;``        ``edge = ``new` `Edge[E];` `        ``for` `(``int` `i = 0; i < e; ++i)``            ``edge[i] = ``new` `Edge();``    ``}` `    ``// A utility function to find``    ``// the subset of an element i``    ``int` `find(``int``[] parent, ``int` `i)``    ``{``        ``if` `(parent[i] == i)``            ``return` `i;``        ``return` `find(parent, parent[i]);``    ``}` `    ``// A utility function to do``    ``// union of two subsets``    ``void` `Union(``int``[] parent, ``int` `x, ``int` `y)``    ``{``        ``parent[x] = y;``    ``}` `    ``// The main function to check``    ``// whether a given graph``    ``// contains cycle or not``    ``int` `isCycle(Graph graph)``    ``{``        ``// Allocate memory for``        ``// creating V subsets``        ``int``[] parent = ``new` `int``[graph.V];` `        ``// Initialize all subsets as``        ``// single element sets``        ``for` `(``int` `i = 0; i < graph.V; ++i)``            ``parent[i] = i;` `        ``// Iterate through all edges of graph,``        ``// find subset of both vertices of every``        ``// edge, if both subsets are same, then``        ``// there is cycle in graph.``        ``for` `(``int` `i = 0; i < graph.E; ++i) {``            ``int` `x = graph.find(parent, graph.edge[i].src);``            ``int` `y = graph.find(parent, graph.edge[i].dest);` `            ``if` `(x == y)``                ``return` `1;` `            ``graph.Union(parent, x, y);``        ``}``        ``return` `0;``    ``}` `    ``// Driver code``    ``public` `static` `void` `Main(String[] args)``    ``{``        ``/* Let us create the following graph``              ``0``              ``| \``              ``|  \``              ``1---2 */``        ``int` `V = 3, E = 3;``        ``Graph graph = ``new` `Graph(V, E);` `        ``// add edge 0-1``        ``graph.edge[0].src = 0;``        ``graph.edge[0].dest = 1;` `        ``// add edge 1-2``        ``graph.edge[1].src = 1;``        ``graph.edge[1].dest = 2;` `        ``// add edge 0-2``        ``graph.edge[2].src = 0;``        ``graph.edge[2].dest = 2;` `        ``if` `(graph.isCycle(graph) == 1)``            ``Console.WriteLine(``"Graph contains cycle"``);``        ``else``            ``Console.WriteLine(``                ``"Graph doesn't contain cycle"``);``    ``}``}` `// This code is contributed by Princi Singh`

## Javascript

 ``

Output

`Graph contains cycle`

Note that the implementation of union() and find() is naive and takes O(n) time in the worst case. These methods can be improved to O(logN) using Union by Rank or Height. We will soon be discussing Union by Rank in a separate post.

Auxiliary Space: O(1)

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