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Shortest Path

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What Is It?

Shortest Path is an algorithm that allows users to calculate the distance from one point to another in a network graph.


Why Is This Important?

Calculating the shortest path between two nodes in a network has many applications. Some examples include analyzing the best origins and destinations for shipping route optimization, or determining the most efficient path for routing communications through a computer network. The shortest path calculation is also used in computing the Graph Distance metrics.


How?

Steps for calculating a Shortest Path on a Network Graph:

  1. Right-click anywhere in the plot (not on a node) and hover over Network Analysis Tools, then select Shortest Path.
  2. Click on the first node you would like to use, which become your origin.
  3. Click on the second node you would like to use, which will be your destination.
  4. The Shortest Path panel will update with the following information:
    • Path Length - the number of edges in the path
    • Weight - the sum of edge weights along the identified path
    • Node Similarity - this uses the Jaccard similarity metric as a representation of node similarity for the path endpoints
      • Note: The node similarity metric ranges from 0 to 1, where a value of 1 would represent a perfect overlap in the neighbors of the source and target node.



Additional Details

The method we are using to calculate the shortest path is Djikstra's algorithm, a widely used algorithm in network analysis.

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