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A Simple Min Cut Algorithm

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Frank Wagner (joint work with Mechthild Stoer)
Institut für Informatik
Freie Universität Berlin
email: wagner@inf.fu-berlin.de
Report B 94-12
May 94

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We present an algorithm for finding the minimum cut of an edge-weighted graph. It is simple in every respect. It has a short and compact description, is easy to implement and has a surprisingly simple proof of correctness. Its runtime matches that of the fastest algorithm known. The runtime analysis is straightforward. In contrast to nearly all approaches so far, the algorithm uses no flow techniques. Roughly spoken the algorithm consists of about $|V|$ nearly identical phases each of which is formally similar to Prim's minimum spanning tree algorithm.