I have the following functions defined:

RandomTree[n_, opts:OptionsPattern[]] := 
TreeGraph[UndirectedEdge[RandomInteger[{1,#}], # + 1] & /@ Range[1, n - 1], opts]

RandomCycleTree[n_, opts:OptionsPattern[]] := Module[{tree, e},
tree = RandomTree[n];
e = RandomChoice[EdgeList[GraphComplement[tree]]];
GraphUnion[tree, Graph[{e}], opts]]

RandomCycleTreeWeighted[n_, opts:OptionsPattern[]] := 
RandomCycleTree[n, EdgeWeight -> RandomReal[{-1, 1}, n], opts]

If I execute:

VertexLabels -> "Name", ImagePadding -> 10], 3, 7]

it returns unevaluated. Can anyone reproduce this and explain why it is happening?

Note: I am using Mathematica 9. I also tried executing this in Mathematica 8.0 and it also didn't work.

  • $\begingroup$ The RandomTree function is from the documentation (up to minor variations). See the Applications section here $\endgroup$
    – a06e
    Jan 19, 2013 at 2:44
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Seems the problem is with the negative weights. I tried BellmanFord to no avail $\endgroup$ Jan 19, 2013 at 2:48
  • $\begingroup$ @belisarius Yes. Putting EdgeWeight -> RandomReal[{0, 1}, n] works fine. Weird, since in the documentation it is claimed that the "BellmanFord" method option should support negative weights. Is this a bug? $\endgroup$
    – a06e
    Jan 19, 2013 at 2:53

2 Answers 2


FindShortestPath works for your graphs with Method->"BellmanFord" but ... your graphs should be Directed.

Bellman-Ford's algo works for graphs with negative edge weights, but only if they are free of negative weight cycles. Think of it as if you could get a -Infinity path: if your graph is undirected, you can always get a -Infinity valued path by going again and again forth and back over the same edge.

Mathematica graphics

  • $\begingroup$ You can also try this: $\endgroup$
    – a06e
    Jan 20, 2013 at 1:42
  • $\begingroup$ RandomTreeWeighted[n_, opts:OptionsPattern[]] := RandomTree[n, EdgeWeight -> RandomReal[{-1, 1}, n - 1], opts] $\endgroup$
    – a06e
    Jan 20, 2013 at 1:43
  • $\begingroup$ Then FindShortestPath[RandomTreeWeighted[10], 3, 7,Method -> "BellmanFord"] also returns unevaluated. Please tell me if you can reproduce this too. $\endgroup$
    – a06e
    Jan 20, 2013 at 1:44
  • $\begingroup$ It should work, because there are no cycles now. $\endgroup$
    – a06e
    Jan 20, 2013 at 1:45
  • $\begingroup$ @becko No, probably I haven't explained it clearly. An undirected graph is never cycle-free because a->b->a is a cycle and is always possible $\endgroup$ Jan 20, 2013 at 3:24

RandomCycleTreeWeighted may generate graphs with negative cycles, whose edge sum to a negative value, and there may not be a shortest path. See Wikipedia Bellman-Ford page [1].

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bellman%E2%80%93Ford_algorithm


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