# Prim’s algorithm

In computer science, Prim’s algorithm is a greedy algorithm that finds a minimum spanning tree for a weighted undirected graph. This means it finds a subset of the edges that forms a tree that includes every vertex, where the total weight of all the edges in the tree is minimized. The algorithm operates by building this tree one vertex at a time, from an arbitrary starting vertex, at each step adding the cheapest possible connection from the tree to another vertex.

Use Prim’s algorithm when you have a graph with lots of edges.For a graph with V vertices E edges, Kruskal’s algorithm runs in O(E log V) time and Prim’s algorithm can run in O(E + V log V) amortized time, if you use a Fibonacci Heap.

Prim’s algorithm is significantly faster in the limit when you’ve got a really dense graph with many more edges than vertices. Kruskal performs better in typical situations (sparse graphs) because it uses simpler data structures.

History
The algorithm was developed in 1930 by Czech mathematician Vojtěch Jarník and later rediscovered and republished by computer scientists Robert C. Prim in 1957 and Edsger W. Dijkstra in 1959

# Kruskal’s algorithm

Kruskal’s algorithm will grow a solution from the cheapest edge by adding the next cheapest edge, provided that it doesn’t create a cycle.

Kruskal’s algorithm is a minimum-spanning-tree algorithm which finds an edge of the least possible weight that connects any two trees in the forest. It is a greedy algorithm in graph theory as it finds a minimum spanning tree for a connected weighted graph adding increasing cost arcs at each step. This means it finds a subset of the edges that forms a tree that includes every vertex, where the total weight of all the edges in the tree is minimized. If the graph is not connected, then it finds a minimum spanning forest (a minimum spanning tree for each connected component).

This algorithm first appeared in Proceedings of the American Mathematical Society and was written by Joseph Kruskal

## Nominated!

Brian McMahan is a research engineer at Joostware, a San Francisco-based company specialized in consulting and building intellectual property in natural language processing and deep learning.