yields True if the vertex list vlist is a vertex cover of the graph g, and False otherwise.


  • A vertex cover is a set of vertices that are incident to every edge.
  • VertexCoverQ works with undirected graphs, directed graphs, multigraphs, and mixed graphs.

Background & Context

  • VertexCoverQ tests if a specified set of vertices forms a vertex cover for a given graph, where a vertex cover is a set of vertices satisfying the condition that each edge of the graph is incident to some vertex in the set. VertexCoverQ returns True if the set is a vertex cover and False otherwise.
  • The entire vertex set of a graph is always a vertex cover (of maximum possible size). The smallest possible vertex cover for a given graph is known as a minimum vertex cover, and its size is known as the vertex cover number.
  • Vertex covers are closely related to independent vertex sets (which are sets of vertices having the property that no two vertices are part of the same edge). In particular, a set of vertices is a vertex cover if and only if its complement forms an independent vertex set. As a result, the counts of vertex covers and independent vertex sets in a graph are the same.
  • FindVertexCover can be used to find a single minimum vertex cover or a single vertex cover of any fixed size, but not all vertex covers. A trivial implementation for finding all vertex covers of a graph can be constructed by applying VertexCoverQ to all subsets of a graph's vertices. EdgeCoverQ performs the analogous test to VertexCoverQ for edge covers of a graph. FindIndependentVertexSet can be used to find one or more maximal independent vertex sets in a graph (each of whose complements is a vertex cover).


open allclose all

Basic Examples  (2)

Test whether a set of vertices is a vertex cover in a graph:

Not all set of vertices are vertex covers in a graph:

Scope  (6)

Test undirected graphs:

Directed graphs:


Mixed graphs:

VertexCoverQ gives False for expressions that are not graphs:

VertexCoverQ works with large graphs:

Applications  (2)

Enumerate all vertex covers for a cycle graph:

Enumerate all subsets of vertices and select the ones that are covers:

Highlight covers:

Enumerate all minimum vertex covers for a Petersen graph:

Find the size of a minimum vertex cover:

Enumerate all minimum vertex covers:

Highlight minimum covers:

Properties & Relations  (7)

The VertexList of a graph is a vertex (typically non-minimal) cover:

A smallest vertex cover can be found using FindVertexCover:

A set of vertices is a vertex cover iff its complement is an independent set:

Check that the complement set of vertices is independent:

The total size of the vertex cover and the largest independent set equals the vertex count:

The complement of the vertex cover in GraphComplement is a clique in its original graph:

Compute the complement using the same embedding:

Its complement is a clique:

The complete bipartite graph has a vertex cover of size :

The largest independent edge set in a bipartite graph has the same size as the smallest vertex cover:

Introduced in 2010
Updated in 2014