Distributed verification of minimum spanning trees

Amos Korman, Shay Kutten

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The problem of verifying a Minimum Spanning Tree (MST) was introduced by Tarjan in a sequential setting. Given a graph and a tree that spans it, the algorithm is required to check whether this tree is an MST. This paper investigates the problem in the distributed setting, where the input is given in a distributed manner, i.e., every node "knows" which of its own emanating edges belong to the tree. Informally, the distributed MST verification problem is the following. Label the vertices of the graph in such a way that for every node, given (its own state and label and) the labels of its neighbors only, the node can detect whether these edges are indeed its MST edges. In this paper, we present such a verification scheme with a maximum label size of O(log n log W), where n is the number of nodes and W is the largest weight of an edge. We also give a matching lower bound of Ω(log n log W) (as long as W > (log n)1+ε for some fixed ε > 0). Both our bounds improve previously known bounds for the problem. For the related problem of tree sensitivity also presented by Tarjan, our method yields rather efficient schemes for both the distributed and the sequential settings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)253-266
Number of pages14
JournalDistributed Computing
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Graph property verification
  • Labeling schemes
  • Minimum spanning tree
  • Network algorithms
  • Proof labeling schemes
  • Self stabilization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics


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