Undirected single-source shortest paths with positive integer weights in linear time

  • Thorup M
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The single-source shortest paths problem (SSSP) is one of the classic problems in algorithmic graph theory: given a positively weighted graph G with a source vertex s, find the shortest path from s to all other vertices in the graph.Since 1959, all theoretical developments in SSSP for general directed and undirected graphs have been based on Dijkstra's algorithm, visiting the vertices in order of increasing distance from s. Thus, any implementation of Dijkstra's algorithm sorts the vertices according to their distances from s. However, we do not know how to sort in linear time. Here, a deterministic linear time and linear space algorithm is presented for the undirected single source shortest paths problem with positive integer weights. The algorithm avoids the sorting bottleneck by building a hierarchical bucketing structure, identifying vertex pairs that may be visited in any order.

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  • Mikkel Thorup

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