# Graph, connectivity of a

One of the topological characteristics of a graph. A graph is said to be connected if for any two of its vertices and there exists a chain connecting these vertices. The vertex connectivity number of a graph (denoted by ) is the smallest number of vertices the removal of which results in a disconnected graph or in a graph consisting of one isolated vertex. The edge connectivity number (denoted by ) is the smallest number of edges of the removal of which results in a disconnected graph. A graph is said to be -connected if , and -edge-connected if . A maximal -connected subgraph of a graph is said to be a -connected component of it; a -connected component is called a connected component. In studying communication networks and logical networks, the connectivity numbers of the corresponding graphs can be interpreted as a degree of reliability of these networks.

The theory of graphs studies methods for determining the connectivity of graphs, conditions under which a graph is -connected or -edge-connected, the relations between the different types of connectivity, the dependence of the connectivity numbers on other graph parameters, etc. Thus, if is the minimal degree of the vertices of a graph , the following inequalities are valid: .

For any integers () there exists a graph for which , , . If has vertices and , then . One says that a set of vertices, edges, or vertices and edges separates two vertices and if and belong to different connected components of the graph obtained from by the removal of the elements of . The following statements are valid.

The smallest number of vertices separating two non-adjacent vertices and is equal to the largest number of simple chains without common vertices connecting and . A graph is -connected if and only if any pair of its vertices is connected by at least chains which do not intersect at the vertices. Similar theorems are also valid for edge connectivity. A graph is -edge-connected if and only if any pair of its vertices is connected by at least chains which do not intersect at the edges. A set of edges whose removal results in the formation of a disconnected graph is known as a cut. In each graph the largest number of cuts which do not intersect at the edges and which separate two vertices and is equal to the smallest number of edges of a simple chain connecting and , i.e. to the distance between and .

#### References

[1] | F. Harary, "Graph theory" , Addison-Wesley (1969) pp. Chapt. 9 |

[2] | L.R. Ford, D.R. Fulkerson, "Flows in networks" , Princeton Univ. Press (1962) |

#### Comments

The assertions in the last section can be derived from the maximum-flow-minimum-cut theorem of L. Ford and D. Fulkerson (see [2]). The first two are different versions of the vertex form of Menger's theorem (see [1]).

The maximum-flow-minimum-cut theorem, or the Ford–Fulkerson theorem, deals with a directed graph for which for each arc a capacity is specified. In addition, two special vertices, labeled , are specified, called source and sink respectively, and there are no arcs leaving or entering . A flow on the graph is given by specifying for every arc (i.e. directed edge) a number such that for every vertex ,

(*) |

where for an arc , denotes its source vertex and its target vertex. The maximum flow problem asks for a flow such that

is maximized. In this setting a cut is a set of arcs whose removal results in a disconnected graph with in one component and in another. The capacity of a cut is the sum of the capacities of the elements of the cut. The maximum-flow-minimum-cut theorem now says that the maximum flow attainable is equal to the minimal attainable capacity of a cut. The maximum flow problem can be formulated as a linear programming problem, and then the maximum-flow-minimum-cut theorem is an instance of the duality theorem of linear programming.

Recall that a chain in a non-oriented graph from to is a sequence of alternating vertices and edges such that is an edge between and and such that all and all , except possibly and , are distinct. A -disconnecting set or cut, where are two vertices, is a set of edges whose removal results in a disconnected graph with in one component and in another. The edge form of Menger's theorem now says that for a connected graph the maximum number of edge-disjoint chains from to is equal to the minimum number of edges in a -disconnecting set. The theorem was in fact first proved by Ford and Fulkerson (1955). A -separating set is a set of vertices (not including or ) such that any chain from to passes through . The vertex form of Menger's theorem (Menger, 1928) now says that the maximum number of vertex-disjoint chains connecting distinct non-adjacent vertices and is equal to the minimal number of vertices in a -separating set. Menger's theorem is closely related to the P. Hall marriage theorem; cf. Combinatorial analysis for that theorem.

#### References

[a1] | W.T. Tutte, "Connectivity in graphs" , Oxford Univ. Press (1966) |

[a2] | R.J. Wilson, "Introduction to graph theory" , Longman (1985) |

[a3] | H.-J. Walther, "Ten applications of graph theory" , Reidel (1984) pp. Sect. 6.1 |

**How to Cite This Entry:**

Graph, connectivity of a. A.A. Sapozhenko (originator),

*Encyclopedia of Mathematics.*URL: http://www.encyclopediaofmath.org/index.php?title=Graph,_connectivity_of_a&oldid=12662