Given a DAG $G=(V, E)$ and a function $f(v)$ which maps every vertex to a unique number from 1 to $|V|$, I need to write a pseudo code for an algorithm that finds for every $v\in V$ the minimal value of $f(u)$, among all vertices $u$ that are reachable from $v$, and save it a an attribute of v. The time complexity of the algorithm needs to be $O(V+E)$ (assuming that time complexity of $f(v)$ is $\Theta (1)$).

I thought about using DFS (or a variation of it) and/or topological sort, but I don't know how to use it in order to solve this problem.

In addition, I need to think about an algorithm that gets an undirected graph and the function $f(v)$, and calculate the same thing for every vertex, and I don't know how to do it either.

  • $\begingroup$ For a connected undirected graph, all vertices are reachable from every other vertex. So every vertex would have the same minimum reachable value right? $\endgroup$ Dec 13, 2020 at 12:07

2 Answers 2


Given a vertex $v$, let $F(v)$ be the minimum value $f(u)$ among all nodes $u$ reachable from $u$ in the input DAG $G=(V,E)$.

Notice that a vertex $u$ is reachable from $v$ if and only if $u=v$ or $u$ is reachable from some out-neighbor $w$ of $v$. Then, we can write:

$$ F(v) = \min\{ f(v), \min_{(v,w) \in E} F(w) \}, $$ where the minimum of over an empty range is $+\infty$.

Let $v_1, \dots, v_n$ be the vertices of $G$ in reverse topological order, and notice that the previous equation for $F(v_i)$ only depends on $f(v_i)$ and on the values $F(v_j)$ with $j<i$.

If we compute $F(v_1), F(v_2), \dots, F(v_n)$ in this order, then we will only need time proportional to the out-degree $\delta_i$ of each $v_i$. More precisely, we will spend time $O( 1 + \delta_i)$ to compute $F(v_i)$. Since $\sum_{i=1}^n ( 1 + \delta_i) = |V| + |E|$, the overall time complexity is also $O(|V| + |E|)$.

If the graph $G$ is not a DAG then, the same approach works once you preprocess $G$ by identifying all the connected components $C$ into a single vertex $v_C$ having $f(v_C) = \min_{u \in C} f(u)$. This preprocessing requires time $O(|V|+|E|)$, since this is the time required to compute the connected components of $G$ (which are a partition of $G$). In particular this captures the case where $G$ is an undirected graph since it is equivalent to solving the problem using the directed version of $G$: just replace each undirected edge $\{u, v\}$ with the pair of directed edges $(u,v)$ and $(v,u)$.


Yes, you can use the topological sort. Suppose topological sorting of the vertices gives you the sequence: $v_{1}, \dotsc, v_{n}$ such that there is no edge of the form $(v_{j},v_{i})$ for any $i < j$.

Following would be the pseudocode to compute the minimum reachable $f(u)$ value for each vertex $v_{i} \in V$:

----- int min_val_reachable[n];    // array that stores minimum reachable f(u) value for each vertex

----- for(i = n to 1; i--)
-------- min_val_reachable[i] = f(v_i) // since a vertex v_i is reachable to itself
-------- for each vertex 'u' in adj_list[v_i]
-------------- if (min_val_reachable[i] > min_val_reachable[u])
-------------------min_val_reachable[i] = min_val_reachable[u]
-------------- end
--------- end
----- end
----- return min_val_reachable[];

The time complexity of the topological sort is $O(|V| + |E|)$, and the time complexity of the above procedure is also $O(|V| + |E|)$. Thus, the overall complexity is $O(|V| + |E|)$.

You can prove the correctness of the above procedure using the induction technique as follows:

Hypothesis: After $t$ iterations of the outer "for loop", we get the correct min_value_reachable[] for every vertex from $v_{n}$ to $v_{n-t+1}$

Base Case: For $t = 1$, it is easy to see that min_value_reachable[$v_n$] = $f(v_n)$ since $v_{n}$ does not has any child, and $v_{n}$ is reachable to itself.

The induction case is also simple. Hope you can figure out the details yourself.


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