Javatpoint Logo
Javatpoint Logo

Which Minimum Spanning Tree Algorithm is better?

Spanning Tree:

A tree that retains connectivity and acyclic features while containing every vertex in the original graph is called a spanning tree of a connected graph. To guarantee that every pair of vertices in this subgraph has a distinct path, edges from the original graph are included only in certain instances. A spanning tree is a minimal connected structure that covers the whole graph with exactly V-1 edges, where V is the number of vertices in the graph. In network design, optimization issues, and other applications where sustaining connectivity is critical, it is vital. The idea of spanning trees offers an effective and organized method of connecting vertices, while also making complex networks easier to express and analyze.

Properties of Spanning Tree:

  • Connectivity: The connectedness of every vertex in the original graph is guaranteed by a spanning tree. Every pair of vertices in the spanning tree has a path connecting them.
  • Acyclic Framework: A spanning tree is acyclic by nature. It is a straightforward and linked subgraph since it is devoid of cycles.
  • Featured Content: A portion of the edges in the original graph are included in the spanning tree. There are precisely V-1 edges in it, where V is the number of vertices in the graph.
  • Spanning Property: All of the vertices in the graph are covered by the spanning tree. It is a linked subgraph with the bare minimum of edges required to join every vertex.
  • Minimal and Connected: When two vertices of a spanning tree are connected, a path always exists between them. Additionally, it is minimal, therefore cutting any edge would cause the tree to become disconnected.
  • Minimum Edge Weight Total: A minimum spanning tree in weighted graphs has the shortest feasible sum of edge weights, offering an ideal solution for specific optimization issues.
  • Special Routes: Because a spanning tree is acyclic, every pair of vertices has a distinct path connecting them. This makes analysis and traversal simpler.
  • Tree Organisation: A particular kind of tree is called a spanning tree, in which every vertex has a distinct parent and one vertex is identified as the root. This tree structure makes algorithmic analysis and traversal more efficient.
  • Analogous Spanning Trees: Even though a graph might contain more than one spanning tree, each one has the same amount of edges (ᅴ - 1 V-1). There are various ways to connect the vertices with these alternate-spanning trees.
  • Application in Network Design: In network architecture, spanning trees are frequently employed to guarantee connectivity while avoiding loops. In computer networks, spanning trees are used by protocols such as the Spanning Tree Protocol (STP) to prevent broadcast storms.

An essential tool in network architecture and graph theory is the Minimum Spanning Tree (MST) method. They assist in determining how to join a group of nodes in a graph in the most effective way possible while reducing the overall edge weight. To solve this issue, numerous algorithms have been created, including Prim's and Kruskal's. We will examine these algorithms in this article, contrasting their advantages, disadvantages, and situations in which one might be better than the other.

Kruskal's Algorithm:

The Minimum Spanning Tree is constructed by iteratively adding the shortest edge that does not form a cycle using Kruskal's algorithm, a greedy approach. Until every vertex is joined, the process is repeated.


  • Efficiency: With a time complexity of O(E log V), where E is the number of edges and V is the number of vertices, Kruskal's approach is efficient. This makes it appropriate for graphs that are sparse, meaning that there are comparatively fewer edges than vertices.
  • Parallelization: Due to its ease of parallelization, Kruskal's technique finds application in distributed computing settings and large-scale graphs.
  • Dynamic Graphs: It works well with dynamic graphs in which edges can be added or removed on the fly without requiring a complete MST computation.


  • Performance on Dense Networks: As the sorting step becomes a significant factor, Kruskal's algorithm may perform less well on dense networks where the number of edges is close to V2.
  • Lack of Priority Queue Requirement: Although Kruskal's algorithm does not expressly require a priority queue, this can be implemented with less complex data structures, which is not necessarily a weakness.

Prim's Algorithm:

Prim's algorithm is an additional greedy algorithm that develops the MST by appending the smallest edge connecting a vertex inside the MST to a vertex outside of it. It begins with an arbitrary node.


  • Efficiency on Dense Graphs: Prim's algorithm's efficiency on dense graphs can be increased if there are V2 edges, as it doesn't need to check every edge as much as Kruskal's algorithm does.
  • Appropriate for Priority Queue: Prim's algorithm is well-suited for implementations that make use of a priority queue, which maximizes the choice of the subsequent edge to add to the MST.
  • Beneficial for Clusters: Prim's approach typically performs well in circumstances where the graph is separated into clusters since it first increases the MST within each cluster before linking them.


  • Inefficiency on Sparse Graphs: Because maintaining a priority queue adds additional expenses, Prim's algorithm may perform less efficiently on sparse graphs than Kruskal's.
  • Parallelization Difficulty: Prim's algorithm is often harder to parallelize than Kruskal's, which means that distributed computing environments may not be the best fit for it.

Selecting the Right Algorithm:

Features of the Graph:

  • Density: Prim's algorithm might be advantageous for dense graphs when E is near V2.
  • Sparsity: Kruskal's algorithm might be more effective in sparse graphs when E is substantially smaller than V2.

Implementation Considerations:

  • Needs for Parallelization: Given that Kruskal's algorithm is inherently parallelizable, it may be a superior choice if parallelization is a crucial requirement.
  • Dynamic Graphs: The flexibility of Kruskal's approach to adjust to changes without recalculating the entire MST may be useful for situations involving dynamic graphs.

In conclusion, the particulars of the network and the demands of implementation determine which of Kruskal's and Prim's algorithms to use. There isn't a universal solution, thus it's important to carefully evaluate the network structure and algorithmic strengths. Each algorithm has advantages and disadvantages, and knowing the trade-offs between them enables one to make wise decisions in various situations, which eventually results in the algorithm that best fits the particular issue at hand.

Next TopicAckermann Function

Youtube For Videos Join Our Youtube Channel: Join Now


Help Others, Please Share

facebook twitter pinterest

Learn Latest Tutorials


Trending Technologies

B.Tech / MCA