Adjacency matrixEdit

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Used to store graphs, especially dense graphs. (For sparse graphs, see "Adjacency list").

  • for a graph with n vertices and m edges, we store an n by n matrix
  • a 1 or similar value at position i, j in the matrix is used to indicate the presence of an edge between vertices i and j
  • alternatively, for a weighted graph, we can use the edge weight as the value
  • directed graphs can use the sign of the value (positive or negative) to indicate the direction of the edge
  • for maximal density, we can use as little as a single bit to encode each value (in the case of an undirected, unweighted graph)

The matrix itself can be stored in any convenient way; it could be a bit string, or a multidimensional array. If the matrix is relatively sparse, we can look at using a special-purpose data structure to represent the sparse matrix.


  • enumerating the edges of a vertex requires a linear scan of a matrix row or column (linear in the number of vertices)
  • looking up the endpoints of an edge can be done in constant time

See also