 # Graph Theory: Simple and Shortest Paths - Lab

This is a lab which I wrote as part of the data science curriculum at Flatiron School.
Be sure to also check out the previous lesson on network paths and the solutions to this lab.

## Introduction

In this lab you'll take the concepts from the previous lesson and code them from scratch yourself! You'll start by unpacking Dijkstra's algorithm and write an implementation to find the shortest path between two nodes. From there, you'll expand on the initial function in order to return the path itself and create a visualization to better understand the underlying process.

## Objectives

In this lab you will:

• Code Dijkstra's algorithm from scratch
• Calculate simple paths and shortest paths for undirected, directed and weighted graphs
• Visualize network graphs with networkx

## Importing Packages

In :
import networkx as nx
import matplotlib.pyplot as plt
import numpy as np
%matplotlib inline


## Regenerating the [Small World] Network

To get started, here's the network from the previous lesson:

In :
G = nx.navigable_small_world_graph(3, seed=3)
G = nx.relabel_nodes(G, dict(zip(G.nodes, ['A', 'B', 'C', 'D', 'E', 'F', 'G', 'H', 'I'])))
nx.draw(G, pos=nx.random_layout(G, seed=9), with_labels=True, node_color='#1cf0c7',
node_size=500, font_weight='bold', width=2, alpha=0.8) ## Dijkstra's Algorithm

As a helpful reference, here's the description of Dijkstra's Algorithm from the previous lesson:

Dijkstra's algorithm is essentially a depth based search. It commences at the starting node, spanning out to neighboring nodes and in turn visiting their neighbors in search of the destination. More formally, here's a general pseudocode outline for the algorithm:

1. Mark all nodes as unvisited
2. Set the distance of the starting node as 0, and $$\infty $$ for all other nodes
3. Set the starting node as the current node
4. Visit each of the neighbors of the current node
1. For each neighbor, calculate the distance to that node traveling through the current node
2. If this distance is less then the current distance recorded for that node, update the record accordingly
5. Mark the current node as "visited"
6. Of the unvisited nodes, set the one with the smallest distance to the current node
7. Repeat steps 4 through 6 until one of the following:
1. The algorithm terminates when the destination node is the current node
2. Alternatively, if the smallest distance of the unvisited nodes is $$\infty $$ , then no path exists to the destination node.

Note: Dijkstra's algorithm (and NetworkX's implementations demonstrated above) returns a single path. In many cases, there may be multiple paths which are tied for the shortest distance between two nodes. In such cases, it is arbitrary which path is returned.

## Coding Dijkstra's Algorithm (Part 1)

Implement a function to perform Dijkstra's algorithm. The function should take in three parameters: the graph G, the starting node u, and the destination node v. From there, return the minimum distance between nodes u and v. In the case that there is no path connecting u and v, printout an appropriate notification and return a missing value (np.nan).

In :
def dijkstra(G, u, v):
"""
G is the graph in question
u is the starting node
v is the destination node

"""
visited = set()
unvisited = set(G.nodes)
distances = {u:0}
for node in unvisited:
if node == u:
continue
else:
distances[node] = np.inf
cur_node = u
weight = 1 # Set default weight for non-weighted graphs
while len(unvisited) > 0:
if cur_node == v:
break
if min([distances[node] for node in unvisited]) == np.inf:
print('There is no path between u and v.')
return np.nan
# Pull up neighbors
neighbors = G[cur_node]
for node in neighbors:
# Future update:Add weight update for weighted graphs
# Set either the distance through the current node or a previous shorter path
distances[node] = min(distances[cur_node] + weight, distances[node])
# Mark current node as visited
unvisited.remove(cur_node)
cur_node = sorted([(node, distances[node]) for node in unvisited], key=lambda x:x) # Set the node with the minimum distance as the current node
return distances[v]


Test out your function on a couple of node pairs, and compare the output to that of NetworkX's built in implementation to verify your results.

In :
dijkstra(G, 'F', 'G')

Out:
2
In :
# Compare to NetworkX's built in method
nx.dijkstra_path_length(G, 'F', 'G')

Out:
2

## Coding Dijkstra's Algorithm (Part 2)

Now, update your algorithm to not only return the minimum distance between the two points, but a list of nodes outlining the directions for the shortest path from the starting node to the destination node. The direction list of nodes should start with the starting node, and end with the destination node, with intermediate step nodes in between. For example, just like the built in method from NetworkX:

nx.dijkstra_path(G, 'I', 'A')


should return

['I', 'G', 'C', 'A']

In :
def dijkstra(G, u, v, return_path_directions=True):
"""
G is the graph in question
u is the starting node
v is the destination node

Returns path, distance
"""
visited = set()
unvisited = set(G.nodes)
distances = {u:0}
shortest_paths = {u:[u]}
for node in unvisited:
if node == u:
continue
else:
distances[node] = np.inf
cur_node = u
weight = 1 # Set default weight for non-weighted graphs
while len(unvisited) > 0:
if cur_node == v:
break
if min([distances[node] for node in unvisited]) == np.inf:
print('There is no path between u and v.')
return np.nan
# Pull up neighbors
neighbors = G[cur_node]
for node in neighbors:
# Future update: Add weight update for weighted graphs
# Set either the distance through the current node or a previous shorter path
if distances[cur_node] + weight < distances[node]:
distances[node] = distances[cur_node] + weight
shortest_paths[node] = shortest_paths[cur_node] + [node]
# Mark current node as visited
unvisited.remove(cur_node)
cur_node = sorted([(node, distances[node]) for node in unvisited], key=lambda x:x) # Set the node with the minimum distance as the current node
if return_path_directions:
return shortest_paths[v], distances[v]
else:
return distances[v]


Now check your updated function against the built in methods from NetworkX again.

In :
#Your code here
print(dijkstra(G, 'F', 'G'), nx.dijkstra_path(G, 'F', 'G'), nx.dijkstra_path_length(G, 'F', 'G'))
print('\n\n')
print(dijkstra(G, 'I', 'A'), nx.dijkstra_path(G, 'I', 'A'), nx.dijkstra_path_length(G, 'I', 'A'))

(['F', 'I', 'G'], 2) ['F', 'I', 'G'] 2

(['I', 'G', 'B', 'A'], 3) ['I', 'G', 'C', 'A'] 3


## Level-Up: Creating a Visual

Modify your function in order to produce successive plots to visualize the process of Dijkstra's algorithm. Plot the edges connecting the starting node to "visited" nodes using one color (ideally, '#00b3e6'). Then, plot the current edge connecting the current node to the neighbor being explored with another color (ideally, '#ffd43d'). Create a subplot of these graphs to show the process of the algorithm.

Putting these plots together, you can also create a fun interactive visual of Dijkstra's algorithm! Here's what the search for the shortest path between F and G looks like: Or broken apart, here are the individual steps shown as subplots: In :
def dijkstra(G, u, v, return_path_directions=True, show_plots=True):
"""
G is the graph in question
u is the starting node
v is the destination node

Returns path, distance
"""
if show_plots:
return_path_directions = True # Must have path directions to generate plots
visited = set()
visited_edges = []
unvisited = set(G.nodes)
distances = {u:0}
shortest_paths = {u:[u]}
for node in unvisited:
if node == u:
continue
else:
distances[node] = np.inf
cur_node = u
weight = 1 # Set default weight for non-weighted graphs
# Create the initial plot
if show_plots:
fig = plt.figure(figsize=(20,15))
nx.draw(G, pos=nx.random_layout(G, seed=9), with_labels=True, node_color='#1cf0c7',
node_size=500, font_weight='bold', width=2, alpha=0.8, ax=ax)
ax.set_title('Step 1')
plot_n = 2
while len(unvisited) > 0:
if cur_node == v:
break
if min([distances[node] for node in unvisited]) == np.inf:
print('There is no path between u and v.')
return np.nan
# Pull up neighbors
neighbors = G[cur_node]
for node in neighbors:
# Future update: Add weight update for weighted graphs
# Create a new graph of the neighbor being explored
if show_plots:
# Base Plot
nx.draw(G, pos=nx.random_layout(G, seed=9), with_labels=True, node_color='#1cf0c7',
node_size=500, font_weight='bold', width=2, alpha=.8, ax=ax)
# Recolor paths to visited nodeds
nx.draw_networkx_edges(G, edgelist=visited_edges, pos=nx.random_layout(G, seed=9),
width=3, edge_color='#00b3e6', ax=ax);
# Recolor current path
nx.draw_networkx_edges(G, edgelist=[(cur_node, node)], pos=nx.random_layout(G, seed=9),
width=3, edge_color='#ffd43d', ax=ax);
ax.set_title('Step {}'.format(plot_n))
plot_n += 1
# Set either the distance through the current node or a previous shorter path
if distances[cur_node] + weight < distances[node]:
distances[node] = distances[cur_node] + weight
shortest_paths[node] = shortest_paths[cur_node] + [node]
# Mark current node as visited
unvisited.remove(cur_node)
try:
# Will error for initial node
visited_edges.append((shortest_paths[cur_node][-2],cur_node))
except:
pass
# Update the plot for the visited node
if show_plots:
# Base Plot
nx.draw(G, pos=nx.random_layout(G, seed=9), with_labels=True, node_color='#1cf0c7',
node_size=500, font_weight='bold', width=2, alpha=.8, ax=ax)
# Recolor paths to visited nodeds
nx.draw_networkx_edges(G, edgelist=visited_edges, pos=nx.random_layout(G, seed=9),
width=3, edge_color='#00b3e6', ax=ax);
ax.set_title('Step {}'.format(plot_n))
plot_n += 1
if plot_n >= 29:
plt.show()
return None
cur_node = sorted([(node, distances[node]) for node in unvisited], key=lambda x:x) # Set the node with the minimum distance as the current node
if return_path_directions:
return shortest_paths[v], distances[v]
else:
return distances[v]

In :
dijkstra(G, 'F', 'G') ## Summary

Well done! In this lab, you deconstructed Dijkstra's algorithm and coded your own implementation! Finding the shortest path between nodes is a foundational concept in network theory and will help inform future concepts such as centrality and betweenness in order to further analyze the structures of graphs.