I faced this problem in a hiring challenge which is now over. I wrote a solution for the problem but at that time the judge gave me wrong answer. Afterwords I thought about the solution but couldn't find any problem with my logic. Maybe I made some implementation mistake during the contest (I'm not sure). But now I have my solution and I don't know if it's correct or not. I have tried it on multiple graphs and it gives correct answer on all of them. But yes a single case is enough to prove an algorithm wrong. So below I provide the details. Please help me validate the solution.

Problem Given an un-directed graph (can be disconnected) with N nodes and E edges. The stress level of the path is defined as the maximum weight of an edge present on this path. Given a source U and destination V you need to tell the minimum stress level from node U to node V. If you cannot reach V from U, return -1.

My Solution

#include <bits/stdc++.h>
using namespace std;

#define int long long

const int mod = 1e9 + 7;

int minStressLevel(vector<vector<pair<int, int> > > &adj, set<pair<int, int> > 
&visited, int src, int dst) {
    if(src == dst) return 0;

        int ans = INT_MAX;
        for(auto to: adj[dst]) {
        int v = to.first;
        int w = to.second;

        if(!visited.count({dst, v})) {
            visited.insert({dst, v});
            visited.insert({v, dst});
            ans = min(ans, max(minStressLevel(adj, visited, src, v), w));

    return ans;

int32_t main() {
    int t;
    cin >> t;

    for(int d = 0; d < t; d++) {
        int n, e;
        cin >> n >> e;

        vector<vector<pair<int, int> > > adj(n + 1);

        for(int i = 0; i < e; i++) {
            int u, v, w;
            cin >> u >> v >> w;

            adj[u].push_back({v, w});
            adj[v].push_back({u, w});

        vector<int> dp(n + 1, INT_MAX);
        set<pair<int, int> > visited;

        int source, destination;
        cin >> source >> destination;

        int ans = minStressLevel(adj, visited, source, destination);
        cout << "Case #" << d << ": ";
        if(ans == INT_MAX) cout << -1 << endl;
        else cout << ans << endl;

Explanation The solution is based on this recurrence: minStressLevel(V) = min{max(minStressLevel(K), edge_weight(K, V))} over all neighbours K of V.

I keep a set of pairs to keep track of what edges have been visited so that I don't get into infinite loops. This is different than a simple Breadth First Search where we stop once we discover a vertex and do not visit it again.

Time Complexity I think time complexity is O(E), where E is the number of edges. Constraints N <= 1e5 E <= 1e5 edge_weight <= 1e9

  • $\begingroup$ Checking your code is off-topic here. Coding questions are off-topic here, and not everyone knows C++, so we request people to use concise pseudocode rather than providing code. $\endgroup$
    – D.W.
    Oct 11 at 4:45

I don't think your algorithm is correct, but keep in mind that I haven't read your code carefully; consider replacing the code with pseudocode.

One solution that could work in $O(m \log m)$ time is to binary search for the stress level and do BFS on only edges with lower weight.

  • $\begingroup$ Yes you are right, the algorithm is incorrect, I was working on it and found the same. Infact the output of algo depends on order of edges. By the way, In you answer do I have to check for connectivity after binary search's check function ? Also do you think it can be dijkstra ? $\endgroup$ Oct 10 at 16:29
  • $\begingroup$ I am saying dijkstra because consider the recurrecnce minStressLevel(V) = min{max(minStressLevel(K), edge_weight(K, V))} over all neighbours K of V. It is very similar to shortest path recurrence dist[v] = min(dist[u] + edge_weight(u,v)) $\endgroup$ Oct 10 at 16:42
  • $\begingroup$ You can use dijkstra if you want, but bfs and in fact DFS too will work. Since you only traverse the weights smaller than a threshold, you only care if u and v are in the same component. $\endgroup$
    – Pål GD
    Oct 10 at 20:15

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