Issue No. 02 - March/April (2001 vol. 3)
DOI Bookmark: http://doi.ieeecomputersociety.org/10.1109/5992.909004
In this computing prescription we present an algorithm for finding a minimum spanning tree. Figure 1 shows a typical application of this MST algorithm. Here we have 11 data points in a plane and would like to find some structure among them. Suppose we draw dotted lines between each pair of points (see Figure 1a). If we consider the points vertices and the dotted lines edges, we have a complete graph on 11 points. In Figure 1b, we choose just enough of the edges to keep the graph connected. This is a spanning tree of the graph. A graph can have many spanning trees. The one shown is an MST--that is, a spanning tree that minimizes the total length of edges.
Francis Sullivan, Isabel Beichl, "In Order to Form a More Perfect UNION", Computing in Science & Engineering, vol. 3, no. , pp. 60-64, March/April 2001, doi:10.1109/5992.909004