Tables for
Volume H
Powder diffraction
Edited by C. J. Gilmore, J. A. Kaduk and H. Schenk

International Tables for Crystallography (2018). Vol. H, ch. 3.8, p. 331

Section Powder data as a tree: the minimum spanning trees

C. J. Gilmore,a G. Barra and W. Donga*

aDepartment of Chemistry, University of Glasgow, University Avenue, Glasgow, G12 8QQ, UK
Correspondence e-mail: Powder data as a tree: the minimum spanning trees

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The minimum spanning tree (MST) displays the MMDS plot as a tree whose points are the data from the MMDS calculation (in three dimensions) and whose weights are the distances between these points. The minimum-spanning-tree problem is that of joining the points with a minimum total edge weight. (As an example, airlines use minimum spanning trees to work out their basic route systems: the best set of routes taking into account airport hubs, passenger numbers, fuel costs etc. is the minimum spanning tree.) Because a tree is used, each point is only allowed a maximum of three connections to other points.

To do this Kruskal's (1956[link]) algorithm can be used, in which the lowest weight edge is always added to see if it builds a spanning tree; if so, it is added or otherwise discarded. This process continues until the tree is constructed. An example is shown in Figs. 3.8.7[link] for the 13-sample aspirin data. A complete tree for this data set using three dimensions and the MMDS-derived coordinates is shown in Fig. 3.8.7[link](a). This has 12 links between the 13 data points. Reducing the number of links to 10 gives Fig. 3.8.7[link](b).


Kruskal, J. B. (1956). On the shortest spanning subtree of a graph and the traveling salesman problem. Proc. Am. Math. Soc. 7, 48–50.Google Scholar

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