finds a cycle in the graph g.


finds a cycle of length at most k in the graph g.


finds a cycle of length exactly k.


finds a cycle of length between kmin and kmax.


finds at most s cycles.


finds cycles that include the vertex v.


uses rules vw to specify the graph g.


  • A cycle is also known as a circuit or loop.
  • A cycle is a path with no repetitions of vertices or edges other than the starting and ending vertices.
  • FindCycle gives a list of cycles. Each cycle is given as a list of edges.
  • FindCycle will return an empty list if there is no cycle.
  • FindCycle[g,kspec,All] finds all the cycles.
  • For weighted graphs, FindCycle[g,k] gives all cycles with total weights less than k.
  • FindCycle works with undirected graphs, directed graphs, and multigraphs.

Background & Context

  • FindCycle attempts to find one or more distinct cycles in a graph. Cycles are returned as a list of edge lists or as {} if none exist. A cycle of a graph (more properly called a circuit when the cycle is identified using an explicit path with particular endpoints) is a consecutive sequence of distinct edges such that the first and last edges coincide at their endpoints. Cycle enumeration can be used for planning a cyclic route in many situations (subway, road trip, etc.), computing voltage or current in electronic circuits, or discovering infinite loops in computer programs.
  • In general, FindCycle[g,kspec,s] attempts to find s cycles of length kspec. The count specification s may be omitted (in which case it is taken to be 1), may be a positive integer, or can be All. The length specification kspec may be a positive integer k (in which case it stands for cycles of length k or less), Infinity, a positive integer inside a list {k} (in which case it stands for cycles of length exactly k), or a list of two positive integers {kmin,kmax} (in which case it stands for cycles of lengths kmin through kmax).
  • A graph for which FindCycle[g,{3}] returns {} is known as a triangle-free graph, and one for which FindCycle[g,{4}] returns {} is known as square free. A cycle of length n, where n is the number of vertices in a graph, is known as a Hamiltonian cycle, and a graph possessing such a cycle is said to be Hamiltonian.
  • A graph that does not contain any cycle is called an acyclic graph and can be tested for using AcyclicGraphQ.
  • FindCycle returns simple cycles, while FindHamiltonianCycle, FindEulerianCycle, and FindFundamentalCycles return specific types of cycles. FindPath may be used to find a path (a set of edges for which the endpoints do not coincide) between two specific vertices, returned as a set of consecutive vertices along the path.


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Basic Examples  (2)

Find a cycle in a graph:

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Highlight the cycle:

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Find all cycles in a graph:

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Scope  (12)

Applications  (4)

Properties & Relations  (3)

Possible Issues  (1)

Introduced in 2014
Updated in 2015