# Prim’s Algorithm – Minimum Spanning Tree (MST)

**What is Prim’s algorithm?**

- Prim’s algorithm is a greedy algorithm.
- It finds a minimum spanning tree for a weighted undirected graph.
- This means it finds a subset of the edges that forms a tree that includes every vertex, where the total weight of all the edges in the tree is minimized.
- The algorithm operates by building this tree one vertex at a time, from an arbitrary starting vertex, at each step adding the cheapest possible connection from the tree to another vertex.

**Example**:

**How to implement Prim’s algorithm?**

- Start with the empty spanning tree.
- Maintain a set mst[] to keep track to vertices included in minimum spanning tree.
- Assign a key value to all the vertices, (say key []) and initialize all the keys with +∞ (Infinity) except the first vertex. (We will start with this vertex, for which key will be 0).
- Key value in step 3 will be used in making decision that which next vertex and edge will be included in the mst[]. We will
**pick the vertex which is not included in mst[] and has the minimum key**. So at the beginning the first vertex will be picked first. - Repeat the following steps until all vertices are processed
- Pick the vertex
which is not in mst[] and has minimum key.*u* - Add vertex
to mst[].*u* - Loop over all the adjacent vertices of
*u*- For adjacent vertex
, if*v*is not in mst[] and*v*is less than the key of vertex u,*edge u-v weight*then update the key[u]= edge u-v weight.*key[u]*

- For adjacent vertex
- Return mst[].

- Pick the vertex

Please see the animation below for better understanding.

**Ways to Implement:**

- Adjacency Matrix – Searching.
- Adjacency List – Binary Heap
- Adjacency List – Priority Queue with decrease key.
- Adjacency List – Priority Queue without decrease key – Better

**Time Complexity:**

The time complexity of Prim’s algorithm depends on the data structures used for the graph and for ordering the edges by weight.

Data Structure of Graph |
Ordering |
Time Complexity |

Adjacency Matrix | Searching | O(|V|^{2}) |

Adjacency List | Binary Heap | O(|E|log|V|) |

Adjacency List | Priority Queue with decrease key | O(|E|^{2}log|V|) |

Adjacency List | Priority Queue without decrease key – Better Implementation | O(|E|log|V|) |

Reference – Wiki