New Bounds for Old Algorithms: On the Average-Case Behavior of Classic Single-Source Shortest-Paths Approaches

  • Ulrich Meyer
  • Andrei Negoescu
  • Volker Weichert
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 6595)


Despite disillusioning worst-case behavior, classic algorithms for single-source shortest-paths (SSSP) like Bellman-Ford are still being used in practice, especially due to their simple data structures. However, surprisingly little is known about the average-case complexity of these approaches. We provide new theoretical and experimental results for the performance of classic label-correcting SSSP algorithms on graph classes with non-negative random edge weights. In particular, we prove a tight lower bound of Ω(n 2) for the running times of Bellman-Ford on a class of sparse graphs with O(n) nodes and edges; the best previous bound was Ω(n 4/3 − ε ). The same improvements are shown for Pallottino’s algorithm. We also lift a lower bound for the approximate bucket implementation of Dijkstra’s algorithm from Ω(n logn / loglogn) to Ω(n 1.2 − ε ). Furthermore, we provide an experimental evaluation of our new graph classes in comparison with previously used test inputs.


Graph Class Short Path Algorithm Grid Graph FIFO Queue Bucket Size 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ulrich Meyer
    • 1
  • Andrei Negoescu
    • 1
  • Volker Weichert
    • 1
  1. 1.Institut für InformatikGoethe-Universität Frankfurt am MainGermany

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