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.



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