breadth-first search


Definition: Any search algorithm that considers neighbors of a vertex, that is, outgoing edges of the vertex's predecessor in the search, before any outgoing edges of the vertex. Extremes are searched last. This is typically implemented with a queue.

Aggregate child (... is a part of or used in me.)

See also depth-first search, best-first search.

Note: In a tree, equivalent to a level-order traversal.

Author: PEB

More information

Lecture notes from Design and Analysis of Algorithms on Breadth-first search and depth-first search. An animation (Java).

Go to the Dictionary of Algorithms and Data Structures home page.

If you have suggestions, corrections, or comments, please get in touch with Paul Black.

Entry modified 10 February 2017.
HTML page formatted Tue Jan 16 10:34:44 2018.

Cite this as:
Paul E. Black, "breadth-first search", in Dictionary of Algorithms and Data Structures [online], Vreda Pieterse and Paul E. Black, eds. 10 February 2017. (accessed TODAY) Available from: