A graph is a data structure that consists of the following two components:
1. A finite set of vertices also called as nodes.
2. A finite set of ordered pair of the form (u, v) called as edge. The pair is ordered because (u, v) is not the same as (v, u) in case of a directed graph(di-graph). The pair of the form (u, v) indicates that there is an edge from vertex u to vertex v. The edges may contain weight/value/cost.
Graphs are used to represent many real-life applications: Graphs are used to represent networks. The networks may include paths in a city or telephone network or circuit network. Graphs are also used in social networks like linkedIn, Facebook. For example, in Facebook, each person is represented with a vertex(or node). Each node is a structure and contains information like person id, name, gender, and locale. See this for more applications of graph.
Following is an example of an undirected graph with 5 vertices.
The following two are the most commonly used representations of a graph.
1. Adjacency Matrix
2. Adjacency List
There are other representations also like, Incidence Matrix and Incidence List. The choice of graph representation is situation-specific. It totally depends on the type of operations to be performed and ease of use.
Adjacency Matrix is a 2D array of size V x V where V is the number of vertices in a graph. Let the 2D array be adj, a slot adj[i][j] = 1 indicates that there is an edge from vertex i to vertex j. Adjacency matrix for undirected graph is always symmetric. Adjacency Matrix is also used to represent weighted graphs. If adj[i][j] = w, then there is an edge from vertex i to vertex j with weight w.
The adjacency matrix for the above example graph is: