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Polytree

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Dec 17, 2021

In mathematics, and more specifically in graph theory, a polytree[1] (also called directed tree,[2]oriented tree[3][4] or singly connected network[5]) is a directed acyclic graph whose underlying undirected graph is a tree. In other words, if we replace its directed edges with undirected edges, we obtain an undirected graph that is both connected and acyclic.

A polytree.

A polyforest (or directed forest or oriented forest) is a directed acyclic graph whose underlying undirected graph is a forest. In other words, if we replace its directed edges with undirected edges, we obtain an undirected graph that is acyclic.

A polytree is an example of an oriented graph.

The term polytree was coined in 1987 by Rebane and Pearl.[6]

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  • An arborescence is a directed rooted tree, i.e. a directed acyclic graph in which there exists a single source node that has a unique path to every other node. Every arborescence is a polytree, but not every polytree is an arborescence.
  • A multitree is a directed acyclic graph in which the subgraph reachable from any node forms a tree. Every polytree is a multitree.
  • The reachability relationship among the nodes of a polytree forms a partial order that has order dimension at most three. If the order dimension is three, there must exist a subset of seven elements x, yi, and zi (for i = 0, 1, 2) such that, for each i, either xyizi, or xyizi, with these six inequalities defining the polytree structure on these seven elements.[7]
  • A fence or zigzag poset is a special case of a polytree in which the underlying tree is a path and the edges have orientations that alternate along the path. The reachability ordering in a polytree has also been called a generalized fence.[8]

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