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Difference between Graph and Tree

Difference between Graph and Tree

Graphs and trees are two different ways of organizing data. A graph consists of nodes, which are represented as circles, and edges, which are represented as lines connecting the nodes. Tree structures, on the other hand, consist of a root node and branches. Nodes in a tree can have one or more children, but a node in a graph can only have one parent. Trees are often used to show hierarchical relationships between objects, while graphs are often used to show connections between objects.

What is Graph?

A graph is a data structure that consists of vertices (nodes) and edges. The edges connect the nodes and are used to represent relationships between them. Graphs are often used to represent networks, such as social networks or communication networks. Graph theory is the study of graphs and their properties. Properties of interest include connectivity, degree distribution, and shortest path algorithms. Graphs can be represented in many ways, including adjacency lists and adjacency matrices. Adjacency lists store each node’s neighbors (i.e., the nodes it is connected to), while adjacency matrices store information about all the edges in the graph. Graphs can also be represented using incidence matrices.

An incidence matrix is a boolean matrix where each row represents a vertex and each column represents an edge. A 1 in the matrix indicates that the vertex is incident to the edge, while a 0 indicates that it is not. Graphs are typically represented using one of these three methods, depending on the application. For example, social networks are often represented using adjacency lists, while communication networks are typically represented using adjacency matrices. Graph theory is an interesting area of mathematics with many applications in computer science and other fields.

What is Tree?

  • A Tree is a data structure that stores data in a hierarchical format. In a Tree, each item of data is called a node. Each node has two parts: the value stored at that node, and a reference to the next node (called the child). The Tree is made up of nodes, where each node has zero or more child nodes. The topmost node in the Tree is called the root node. A Tree can be empty, or it can have one or more nodes.
  • There are several tree algorithms, which are used to calculate various properties of the Tree, such as its height, its width, and so on. Tree algorithms are also used to traverse the Tree in order to find specific data values stored in the Tree.
  • The Tree data structure has many applications. It is often used in computer science, for example, to store data such as lists of files and folders in a hierarchical format (such as in a file system). Trees are also used in mathematics and in computer graphics.

Difference between Graph and Tree

Graphs and trees are two different data structures that are often used to represent information in a computer. Graphs are made up of nodes, which are connected by edges. Each node represents an entity, such as a person or a piece of information, and each edge represents a relationship between two nodes. Trees, on the other hand, are made up of nodes that are arranged in a hierarchical fashion. The topmost node is called the root node, and each node below it is called a child node. Every node except for the root node has exactly one parent node. Graphs are more flexible than trees because they can represent relationships between entities that are not necessarily hierarchical. However, trees are often easier to work with computationally because they have a more predictable structure.


Although graphs and trees may look similar, they have different purposes. Trees are used to organize data while graphs are used to display relationships between data points. Understanding the difference between these two types of diagrams can help you choose the right tool for your needs.

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