# Longest Cycle in a Graph

Given a directed graph, output the longest cycle.

## Rules

• Any reasonable input format is allowed (e.g. list of edges, connectivity matrix).
• The labels are not important, so you may impose any restrictions on the labels that you need and/or desire, so long as they do not contain additional information not given in the input (e.g. you can't require that the nodes in cycles are labeled with integers, and other nodes are labeled with alphabetic strings).
• A cycle is a sequence of nodes that are all connected, and no node is repeated, other than the node that is the start and end of the cycle ([1, 2, 3, 1] is a cycle, but [1, 2, 3, 2, 1] is not).
• If the graph is acyclic, the longest cycle has length 0, and thus should yield an empty output (e.g. empty list, no output at all).
• Repeating the first node at the end of the list of nodes in the cycle is optional ([1, 2, 3, 1] and [1, 2, 3] denote the same cycle).
• If there are multiple cycles of the same length, any one or all of them may be output.
• Builtins are allowed, but if your solution uses one, you are encouraged to include an alternate solution that does not use trivializing builtins (e.g. a builtin that outputs all cycles). However, the alternate solution will not count towards your score at all, so it is entirely optional.

## Test Cases

In these test cases, input is given as a list of edges (where the first element is the source node and the second element is the destination node), and the output is a list of nodes without repetition of the first/last node.

[(0, 0), (0, 1)] -> [0]
[(0, 1), (1, 2)] -> []
[(0, 1), (1, 0)] -> [0, 1]
[(0, 1), (1, 2), (1, 3), (2, 4), (4, 5), (5, 1)] -> [1, 2, 4, 5]
[(0, 1), (0, 2), (1, 3), (2, 4), (3, 0), (4, 6), (6, 8), (8, 0)] -> [0, 2, 4, 6, 8]
[(0, 0), (0, 8), (0, 2), (0, 3), (0, 9), (1, 0), (1, 1), (1, 6), (1, 7), (1, 8), (1, 9), (2, 1), (2, 3), (2, 4), (2, 5), (3, 8), (3, 1), (3, 6), (3, 7), (4, 1), (4, 3), (4, 4), (4, 5), (4, 6), (4, 8), (5, 0), (5, 8), (5, 4), (6, 0), (6, 1), (6, 2), (6, 3), (6, 4), (6, 5), (6, 6), (6, 7), (6, 9), (7, 0), (7, 1), (7, 2), (7, 3), (7, 4), (7, 5), (7, 8), (7, 9), (8, 0), (8, 1), (8, 2), (8, 5), (8, 9), (9, 1), (9, 2), (9, 3), (9, 4), (9, 5), (9, 6)] -> [0, 9, 6, 7, 8, 2, 5, 4, 3, 1]
[(0, 0), (0, 2), (0, 4), (0, 5), (0, 7), (0, 9), (0, 11), (1, 2), (1, 4), (1, 5), (1, 8), (1, 9), (1, 10), (2, 0), (2, 1), (2, 3), (2, 4), (2, 5), (2, 6), (3, 0), (3, 1), (3, 5), (3, 6), (3, 7), (3, 8), (3, 9), (3, 11), (4, 1), (4, 3), (4, 7), (4, 8), (4, 9), (4, 10), (4, 11), (5, 0), (5, 4), (5, 6), (5, 7), (5, 8), (5, 11), (6, 0), (6, 8), (6, 10), (6, 3), (6, 9), (7, 8), (7, 9), (7, 2), (7, 4), (7, 5), (8, 8), (8, 9), (8, 2), (8, 4), (8, 7), (9, 0), (9, 1), (9, 2), (9, 3), (9, 6), (9, 10), (9, 11), (10, 8), (10, 3), (10, 5), (10, 6), (11, 2), (11, 4), (11, 5), (11, 9), (11, 10), (11, 11)] -> [0, 11, 10, 6, 9, 3, 8, 7, 5, 4, 1, 2]

• In all your examples, your output starts with the node with the smallest index. Is this a requirement? – Dada Jan 18 '17 at 20:49
• @Dada No, that's just a coincidence with the test cases. The output should start (and optionally end) with the first node in the cycle. – Mego Jan 18 '17 at 20:50
• You should pick a format, with endpoint or without is arbitrary and adds nothing to the challenge. – Magic Octopus Urn Jan 18 '17 at 20:51
• @carusocomputing I disagree. The last node is implicit if left off (since it's the same as the first node). Allowing the choice of whether or not to repeat the first node allows more freedom in golfing. – Mego Jan 18 '17 at 20:53
• – Fatalize Jan 19 '17 at 7:32

## Mathematica, 80 58 bytes

Saved a whopping 22 bytes thanks to JungHwan Min

(FindCycle[#,∞,All]/.{}->{Cases[#,v_v_]})[[-1,;;,1]]&


 is the three byte private use character U+F3D5 representing \[DirectedEdge]. Pure function with first argument # expected to be a list of directed edges. Finds All cycles of length at most Infinity in Graph@#, then replaces the empty list with the list of self-loops. Cycles are represented as lists of edges and sorted by length, so we take the last such cycle, then from all of its edges we take the first argument so that we get a list of vertices in the specified output format.

If only Mathematica treated loops as a cycle of length 1 (AcyclicGraphQ @ CycleGraph[1, DirectedEdges -> True] gives True, seriously), then we could save another 26 bytes:

FindCycle[#,∞,All][[-1,;;,1]]&

• You won't need MaximalBy because the result of FindCycle is already sorted by length (the last element is the longest). Also, the first argument of FindCycle can be a list of \[DirectedEdge] (instead of a Graph). Plus, you can use the 2-byte ;; (= 1;;-1) instead of the 3-byte All in Part to save a byte. -22 bytes (58 bytes): (FindCycle[#,∞,All]/.{}->{Cases[#,v_v_]})[[-1,;;,1]]& – JungHwan Min Jan 19 '17 at 3:04

# Haskell, 157 154 150 bytes

import Data.List
g#l=nub[last$(e:d):[d|p==last q||eeleminit d]|d@(p:q)<-l,[e,f]<-g,p==f] h g=snd$maximum$((,)=<<length)<$>[]:until((==)=<<(g#))(g#)g


Try it online!

Thanks @Laikoni and @Zgrab for saving a bunch of bytes!

This is a very inefficient program:

The first function # takes a list of paths l (a list of lists of numbers) and tries to extend the elements of l by prepending every possible edge (a list of length 2) of g to each element of l. This happens only if the element of l isn't already a cycle and if the new node that would be prepended is not already contained in the element of l. If it is already a cycle, we do not prepend anything but add it again to the new list of paths, if we can extend it, we add the extended path to the new list, otherwise we don't add it to the new list.

Now the function h repeatedly tries to extend those paths (starting with the list of edges itself) until we reach a fixed point, i.e. we cannot extend any path any further. At this point we only have cycles in our list. Then it is just a matter of picking the longest cycle. Obviously the cycles appear multiple times in this list since every possible cyclic rotation of a cycle is again a cycle.

• You can drop the parentheses in (p:q)<-l. – Laikoni Jan 23 '17 at 22:59
• And using <$> instead of map should save another byte in ((,)=<<length)<$>[]:. – Laikoni Jan 23 '17 at 23:04
• @Laikoni Thank you very much! – flawr Jan 24 '17 at 10:05
• You have an extra space after the final line. Also, doing d@(p:q)<-l saves some bytes. – Zgarb Jan 24 '17 at 10:12
• Oh, the d@(p:q) is really nice, thank you for showing me! – flawr Jan 24 '17 at 11:02

# Pyth, 20 bytes

eMefqhMT.>{eMT1s.pMy


Test suite

Takes a list of edges, like in the examples.

Explanation:

eMefqhMT.>{eMT1s.pMy
eMefqhMT.>{eMT1s.pMyQ    Variable introduction
yQ    Take all subsets of the input, ordered by length
.pM      Reorder the subsets in all possible ways
s         Flatten
(This should be a built in, I'm going to make it one.)
f                     Filter on (This tests that we've found a cycle)
qhMT                 The list of first elements of edges equals
eMT           The last elements
.>   1          Rotated right by 1
{                Deduplicated (ensures no repeats, which would not be a
simple cycle)
e                      Take the last element, which will be the longest one.
eM                       Take the last element of each edge, output.


# Bash + bsdutils, 129 bytes

sed 's/^$$.*$$ \1$/x \1 \1 x/'|sort|(tsort -l>&-)|&tr c\\n ' '|sed 's/x //g'|awk 'm<NF{m=NF;gsub(/[^0-9 ] ?/,"");print}'|tail -1  tsort does all the heavy lifting, but its output format is rather unique and it doesn't detect cycles of length 1. Note that this doesn't work with GNU tsort. ### Verification --- t1 --- 0 --- t2 --- --- t3 --- 0 1 --- t4 --- 1 2 4 5 --- t5 --- 0 2 4 6 8 --- t6 --- 0 2 1 6 3 7 4 8 9 5 --- t7 --- 0 11 10 3 1 2 4 7 5 8 9 6  # JavaScript (ES6), 173163156145 139 bytes Saved 5 bytes thanks to @Neil f=(a,m,b=[])=>a.map(z=>!([x,y]=z,m&&x-m.slice(-1))&&b.length in(c=(n=m||[x],q=n.indexOf(y))?~q?b:f(a.filter(q=>q!=z),[...n,y]):n)?b=c:0)&&b  ### Test snippet f=(a,m,b=[])=>a.map(z=>!([x,y]=z,m&&x-m.slice(-1))&&b.length in(c=(n=m||[x],q=n.indexOf(y))?~q?b:f(a.filter(q=>q!=z),[...n,y]):n)?b=c:0)&&b g=a=>console.log("Input:",JSON.stringify(a),"Output:",JSON.stringify(f(a))) g([[0,0]]) g([[0,1],[1,2]]) g([[0,1],[1,0]]) g([[0,1],[1,2],[2,0]]) g([[0,1],[1,2],[1,3],[2,4],[4,5],[5,1]]) g([[0,1],[0,2],[1,3],[2,4],[3,0],[4,6],[6,8],[8,0]]) • Surely switching to a plain old map saves you a couple of bytes? – Neil Jan 19 '17 at 0:48 • @Neil It'd have to be .filter().map(), so almost certainly not. The switch saved me 10 bytes (though it wasn't as fully golfed as it is now) – ETHproductions Jan 19 '17 at 1:09 • I don't see you using the result of the comprehension, so instead of using a.filter(z=>!e).map(z=>d) you can use a.map(z=>e?0:d). – Neil Jan 19 '17 at 1:32 • You're right, I can combine everything to save 5 bytes. And I just realized I don't need a+a? either :-) – ETHproductions Jan 19 '17 at 1:58 • Could the downvoter please explain what's wrong? Does it produce incorrect outputs? – ETHproductions Jan 19 '17 at 12:43 # Haskell, 109 108 bytes import Data.List f g=last$[]:[b|n<-[1..length g],e:c<-mapM(\_->g)[1..n],b<-[snd<$>e:c],b==nub(fst<$>c++[e])]


A brute force solution: generate all lists of edges of increasing lengths until the length of the input, keep those that are cycles, return the last one. Takes the graph in the format [(1,2),(2,3),(2,4),(4,1)]. Try it online!

## Explanation

f g=                    -- Define function f on input g as
last$-- the last element of the following list []: -- (or [], if the list is empty): [b| -- lists of vertices b where n<-[1..length g], -- n is between 1 and length of input, e:c<- -- list of edges with head e and tail c is drawn from mapM(\_->g)[1..n], -- all possible ways of choosing n edges from g, b<-[snd<$>e:c],      --  b is the list of second elements in e:c,
b==                  --  and b equals
nub(fst<\$>c++[e])]  --  the de-duplicated list of first elements
--  in the cyclic shift of e:c.

• It took now a while until I finally understood what is going on, the part for checking for paths/cycles is really clever, I am amazed! – flawr Jan 24 '17 at 11:11
• @flawr Thanks! Well, it appears that isaacg used essentially the same algorithm before me. – Zgarb Jan 24 '17 at 11:22

# MATLAB, 291 260 bytes

Takes an adjecency matrix A where an edge (i,j) is denoted by a 1 in A(i,j), and A is zero in all other entries. The output is a list of a longest cycle. The list is empty if there is no cycle at all, and the list includes start and endpoint if there is a cycle. It uses 1-based indexing.

This solution does not use any built-in functions related to graphs.

function c=f(A);N=size(A,1);E=eye(N);c=[];for j=1:N;l=g(j);if numel(l)>numel(c);c=l;end;end;function p=g(p)if ~any(find(p(2:end)==p(1)))e=E(p(end),:)Q=find(e*A)k=[];for q=Q;if ~ismember(q,p(2:end))n=g([p,q]);if numel(n)>numel(k);k=n;end;end;end;p=k;end;end;end


Unfortunately this does not run in TryItOnline as it uses a function within a function, which is recursive. A little bit of modification allows you to try it on octave-online.net.

For the very last test case I found an alternative longest cycle [0 2 1 4 3 5 7 8 9 11 10 6 0] (this notation uses 0-based indexing)

### Explanation

The basic approach here is that we perform a BFS from every node and take care that we do not visit any of the intermediate nodes again except the start node. With that idea we can collect all possible cycles, and easily pick the longest one.

function c=f(A);
N=size(A,1);
E=eye(N);
c=[]; % current longest cycle
for j=1:N;                                      % iterate over all nodes
l=getLongestCycle(j);                       % search the longest cycle through the current node
if numel(l)>numel(c);                       % if we find a longer cycle, update our current longest cycle
c=l;
end;

end;

function p=getLongestCycle(p);              % get longest cycle from p(1) using recursion
if ~any(find(p(2:end)==p(1)));          % if we just found a cycle, return the cycle do nothing else, OTHERWISE:
e=E(p(end),:);                      % from the last node, compute all outgoing edges
Q=find(e*A);
k=[];
for q=Q;                            % iterate over all outogoin edges
if ~ismember(q,p(2:end));       % if we haven't already visited this edge,
n=getLongestCycle([p,q]);   % recursively search from the end node of this edge
if numel(n)>numel(k);       % if this results in a longer cycle, update our current longest cycle
k=n;
end;
end;
end;
p=k;
end;
end;
end