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Resistance distance

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Title: Resistance distance  
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Subject: Graph theory, Table of simple cubic graphs, Conductance (graph), Series and parallel circuits, Electrical impedance
Collection: Graph Theory
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Resistance distance

In graph theory, the resistance distance between two vertices of a simple connected graph, G, is equal to the resistance between two equivalent points on an electrical network, constructed so as to correspond to G, with each edge being replaced by a 1 ohm resistance. It is a metric on graphs.


  • Definition 1
  • Properties of resistance distance 2
    • General sum rule 2.1
    • Relationship to the number of spanning trees of a graph 2.2
    • As a squared Euclidean distance 2.3
    • Connection with Fibonacci numbers 2.4
  • See also 3
  • References 4


On a graph G, the resistance distance Ωi,j between two vertices vi and vj is


where Γ is the Moore–Penrose inverse of the Laplacian matrix of G.

Properties of resistance distance

If i = j then


For an undirected graph


General sum rule

For any N-vertex simple connected graph G = (VE) and arbitrary N×N matrix M:

\sum_{i,j \in V}(LML)_{i,j}\Omega_{i,j}=-2\operatorname{tr}(ML)\,

From this generalized sum rule a number of relationships can be derived depending on the choice of M. Two of note are;

\sum_{(i,j) \in E}\Omega_{i,j}=N-1

where the \lambda_{k} are the non-zero eigenvalues of the Laplacian matrix. This unordered sum ΣiΩi,j is called the Kirchhoff index of the graph.

Relationship to the number of spanning trees of a graph

For a simple connected graph G = (VE), the resistance distance between two vertices may by expressed as a function of the set of spanning trees, T, of G as follows:

\Omega_{i,j}=\begin{cases} \frac{\left | \{t:t \in T, e_{i,j} \in t\} \right \vert}{\left | T \right \vert}, & (i,j) \in E\\ \frac{\left | T'-T \right \vert}{\left | T \right \vert}, &(i,j) \not \in E \end{cases}

where T' is the set of spanning trees for the graph G'=(V, E+e_{i,j}).

As a squared Euclidean distance

Since the Laplacian L is symmetric and positive semi-definite, its pseudoinverse \Gamma is also symmetric and positive semi-definite. Thus, there is a K such that \Gamma = K K^T and we can write:

\Omega_{i,j} = \Gamma_{i,i}+\Gamma_{j,j}-\Gamma_{i,j}-\Gamma_{j,i} = K_iK_i^T + K_jK_j^T - K_iK_j^T - K_jK_i^T = (K_i - K_j)^2

showing that the square root of the resistance distance corresponds to the Euclidean distance in the space spanned by K.

Connection with Fibonacci numbers

A fan graph is a graph on n+1 vertices where there is an edge between vertex i and n+1 for all i = 1, 2, 3, ...n, and there is an edge between vertex i and i+1 for all i = 1, 2, 3, ..., n-1.

The resistance distance between vertex n + 1 and vertex i \in \{1,2,3,...,n\} is \frac{ F_{2(n-i)+1} F_{2i-1} }{ F_{2n} } where F_{j} is the j-th Fibonacci number, for j \geq 0.[1][2]

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^
  • Klein, D. J.; Randic, M. J. (1993). "Resistance Distance". J. Math. Chem. 12: 81.  
  • Gutman, Ivan; Mohar, Bojan (1996). "The quasi-Wiener and the Kirchhoff indices coincide". J. Chem. Inf. Comput. Sci. 36: 982–985.  
  • Palacios, Jose Luis (2001). "Closed-form formulas for the Kirchhoff index". Int. J. Quant. Chem. 81: 135–140.  
  • Babic, D.; Klein, D. J.; Lukovits, I.; Nikolic, S.; Trinajstic, N. (2002). "Resistance-distance matrix: a computational algorithm and its application". Int. J. Quant. Chem. 90 (1): 166–167.  
  • Klein, D. J. (2002). "Resistance Distance Sum Rules" (PDF). Croatica Chem. Acta 75 (2): 633–649. 
  • Bapat, Ravindra B.; Gutman, Ivan; Xiao, Wenjun (2003). "A simple method for computing resistance distance". Z. Naturforsch. 58a: 494–498.  
  • Placios, Jose Luis (2004). "Foster's formulas via probability and the Kirchhoff index". Method. Comput. Appl. Probab. 6 (4): 381–387.  
  • Bendito, Enrique; Carmona, Angeles; Encinas, Andres M.; Gesto, Jose M. (2008). "A formula for the Kirhhoff index". Int. J. Quant. Chem. 108 (6): 1200–1206.  
  • Zhou, Bo; Trinajstic, Nenad (2009). "The Kirchhoff index and the matching number". Int. J. Quant. Chem. 109: 2978–2981.  
  • Zhou, Bo; Trinajstic, Nenad (2009). "On resistance-distance and the Kirchhoff index". J. Math. Chem. 46: 283–289.  
  • Zhou, Bo. "On sum of powers of Laplacian eigenvalues and Laplacian Estrada Index of graphs".  
  • Zhang, Heping; Yang, Yujun (2007). "Resistance distance and Kirchhoff index in circulant graphs". Int. J. Quantum Chem. 107: 330–339.  
  • Yang, Yujun; Zhang, Heping (2008). "Some rules on resistance distance with applications". J. Phys. A: Math. Theor. 41: 445203.  
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