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Dijkstra Algorithm – Part III


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See Part I for an overview of Dijkstra algorithm and Part II for pseudo code of Dijkstra algorithm.

When to use the Dijkstra algorithm?

As we have seen, the Dijkstra Algorithm is used to solve the problem of minimum paths in a directed graph. The implementation we have been analysing always gives us the optimal matrix of minimum paths.

Typical applications of the Dijkstra algorithm:

  • Robot navigation.
  • Typesetting in TeX.
  • Urban traffic planning.
  • Tramp steamer problem.
  • Optimal pipelining of VLSI chip.
  • Telemarketer operator scheduling.
  • Subroutine in higher level algorithms.
  • Routing of telecommunications messages.
  • Approximating piecewise linear functions.
  • Exploiting arbitrage opportunities in currency exchange.
  • Open Shortest Path First (OSPF) routing protocol for IP.
  • Optimal truck routing through a given traffic congestion pattern.


FinancialStocks, currencyTransactions
Neural networksNeuronsSynapses
SchedulingTasksPrecedence constraints
CommunicationTelephones, computersFibre optic cables
CircuitsGates, registers, processorsWires
MechanicalJointsRods, beams, springs
HydraulicReservoirs, pumping stationsPipelines
GamesBoard positionsLegal moves
InternetWeb pagesHyperlinks

Dijkstra algorithm vs Kruskal algorithm

Dijkstra algorithm and Kruskal algorithm – both these algorithms belong to the family of greedy algorithms. Although Dijkstra algorithm is used to solve the shortest path problem, the Kruskal algorithm is used to solve the minimum covering graph.

Dijkstra algorithm vs Prim algorithm

Dijkstra algorithm and Prim algorithm – both algorithms belong to the family of greedy algorithms. Although the Dijkstra algorithm is used to solve the shortest path problem, the Prim algorithm is used to solve the minimum covering graph as the Kruskal algorithm.

Prim algorithm vs Kruskal algorithm

What is the difference between Prim algorithm and Kruskal algorithm? The difference is in the way the greedy algorithm is implemented. While the Kruskal algorithm always chooses the edges in increasing order of length and forms disjoint subsets to finally find the optimal solution, the Prim algorithm always has the optimal set at a given time.

Stay tuned for the next installment in which Mario Pisa will demonstrate how to find the shortest path using the Dijkstra algorithm.

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