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MSS 318

SESSION 2014/2015
(3: Euler and Hamilton Circuit/Path)

Acknowledgement : Rosen, K.H. Discrete Mathematics and its Applications, 7th edition, McGraw-Hill

Seven Bridges of Knigsberg

The Seven Bridges of Knigsberg is a historically notable problem in mathematics.

The town of Knigsberg, Prussia (now Kalingrad, Russia) was divided into four sections by the
branches of the Pregel river. In the 18th century seven bridges connected these regions.

People wondered whether it was possible to follow a path that crosses each bridge exactly once
and returns to the starting point.
The Swiss mathematician Leonard Euler studied this problem using a multigraph, where the four
regions are represented by vertices and the bridges by edges.

The question : Is there a simple circuit in this multigraph that

contains every edges?
The answer: Euler proved that no such path exists.
This result is often considered to be the first theorem ever
proved in graph theory.

Euler Circuits and Paths

Is it possible to draw the following picture on paper without ever lifting the pencil and without retracing
over any line segment?


The question whether we can travel along the edges of a graph starting at a vertex and return to it by
traversing exactly once has led to the study of Euler paths and circuits.
Definition 2.24
An Euler circuit in a graph is a simple circuit containing every edge of . An Euler path in is a simple
path containing every edge of .


The graph has an Euler circuit. We can travel from back to .

Euler circuit : , , , , , , or , , , , , ,


Euler circuit? Euler path? Can we travel exactly once

on each edge?


Euler circuit? Can you travel from back to passing

through every edge once?


The graph has Euler circuit?

Euler path?


Euler circuit?
Euler path?


Euler circuit?
Euler path?

Necessary and Sufficient Conditions

for Euler Circuits and Paths
Theorem 7
A connected multigraph with at least two vertices has an Euler circuit iff each of its vertices has even
Theorem 8
A connected multigraph has an Euler path but not an Euler circuit iff it has exactly two vertices of
odd degree.

How about the multigraph representing Seven Bridges of Knigsberg?

Applications of Euler Paths and Circuits

Euler paths and circuits can be used to solve many practical problems such as finding a path
or circuit that traverses each
street in a neighborhood,
road in a transportation network,
connection in a utility grid,
link in a communications network.

Other applications are found in the

layout of circuits,
network multicasting,
molecular biology, where Euler paths are used in the sequencing of DNA.

Hamilton Circuits and Paths

Euler : need to traverse every edge once
How about passing through every vertex once?

William Hamilton invented the Icosian puzzle in 1857. It consisted of a wooden

dodecahedron , with 12 regular pentagons as faces (figure (a)).
The object of the puzzle was to travel along the edges of the dodecahedron (where the
20 vertices are different cities) exactly once and back to the first vertex (city).

The graph form of the puzzle is given in (b).

The solution Hamiltons puzzle is

Hamilton Circuits and Paths

Definition 2.25
A simple path in graph that passes through every vertex exactly once is called Hamilton
path, and a simple circuit in that passes through every vertex exactly once is called a
Hamilton circuit.
Example: Which of these simple graphs has a Hamilton circuit or, if not, a Hamilton path?

Conditions for Hamilton Circuits

Unlike for an Euler circuit, no simple necessary and sufficient conditions are known for the
existence of a Hamilton circuit. However, there are some useful necessary conditions.
A graph with a vertex of degree one cannot have a Hamilton circuit.
If a vertex has degree two, then both edges incident with the vertex must be part of
Hamilton circuit.
When a circuit has passed through a vertex, all the remaining edges incident with this
vertex, other than the two used in the circuit, can be removed from consideration.

Sufficient condition for the existence of a Hamilton circuit.

Theorem 9 (Diracs Theorem)
If is a simple graph with 3 vertices such that the degree of every vertex in is at least /2,
then has a Hamilton circuit.
Theorem 10 (Ores Theorem)
If is a simple graph with 3 vertices such that deg() + deg() for every pair of
nonadjacent vertices, then has a Hamilton circuit.
Example : Can Diracs Theorem or Ores Theorem be used to show the graphs have H.C?



For which values of n do these graphs have Euler circuit?


For which values of n do these graphs have Hamilton circuit?


Application of Hamilton Paths and Circuits

Applications that ask for a path or a circuit that visits each intersection of a city, each
place pipelines intersect in a utility grid, or each node in a communications network
exactly once, can be solved by finding a Hamilton path in the appropriate graph.
The famous traveling salesperson problem (TSP) asks for the shortest route a traveling
salesperson should take to visit a set of cities. This problem reduces to finding a Hamilton
circuit such that the total sum of the weights of its edges is as small as possible.