Alternative representations

In the text so far we have only given the dots and lines version of the representation of graphs. It is also possible to show a list or produce a matrix. There is not much to say about a list. It is just a collection of edges (or single vertices for vertices of degree zero). This would mean that $P$ could be represented as

\[12\; ,15\; ,16\; ,23\; , 27\; ,34\; , 38\; , 45\; ,49\; , 510\; ,68\; ,69\; , 79\; ,710,\]

where $ab$ represents an edge between $a$ and $b$. As you can see this does not give as much insight into a graph as does the pictorial relation we have used above.

A representation with a little more structure is given by what are known as adjacency matrices. An adjacency matrix is a matrix that shows which vertices are adjacent .For example if we number the rows by numbers 1 to 3 and columns in the same way, Figure 13 shows a graph and its adjacency matrix.

left graph in picture form and right graph in matrix form

A graph in picture form and in matrix form.

It might be obvious, but the top left hand zero shows that 1 is not adjacent to 1, the 1 in the first row and second column shows that 1 is adjacent to 2. We get a 0 in row $ a$ and column $ b$ if $a$ and $ b$ are not adjacent; we get a 1 in row $c$ and column $d$ if $c$ and $d$ are adjacent.


  1. What are the adjacency matrices of the complete graphs and the complete bipartite graphs?
  2. How can you see that the adjacency matrix is the graph of a bipartite graph?
  3. If $M$ is the adjacency matrix of a graph, what is the adjacency matrix of its complement?
  4. What does the adjacency matrix of a graph look like? How can you tell it from a matrix that is not an adjacency matrix of a graph?
  5. Let $A$ be the adjacency matrix of a graph. What does $2A$ and $A^2$ look like. What can we tell about the graph from $A^2$? What can you tell about a graph from $A^k$? (Work with some small graphs first to see what pattern develops.)

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