# Dijkstra's algorithm in Rust

I'd love to get feedback on my first go at Dijkstra's algorithm in Rust:

use std::cell::Cell;
use std::cmp::Ordering;
use std::collections::{BinaryHeap, HashMap};
use std::fmt;
use std::fmt::Debug;
use std::hash::{Hash, Hasher};
use std::rc::Rc;

fn main() {
let s = Vertex::new("s");
let t = Vertex::new("t");
let x = Vertex::new("x");
let y = Vertex::new("y");
let z = Vertex::new("z");

// A map from vertices to their adjacent vertices including costs
adjacency_list.insert(&y, vec![(&t, 3), (&x, 9), (&z, 2)]);

}

// Multiple lifetime parameters to avoid the error:
// "borrowed value does not live long enough"
fn dijkstra<'a, 's: 'a>(
start: &'a Vertex<'s>,
adjacency_list: &'a HashMap<&'a Vertex<'s>, Vec<(&'a Vertex<'s>, usize)>>,
) {
start.distance.set(0);

// Fill the binary heap, vertices with the smallest distance go first
let mut to_visit = BinaryHeap::new();

// We visit the vertices with the smallest distance first, this is
// what makes Dijkstra a greedy algorithm
while let Some(v) = to_visit.pop() {
if let Some(neighbors) = adjacency_list.get(v) {
for (n, cost) in neighbors {
let new_distance = v.distance.get() + cost;
if new_distance < n.distance.get() {
n.distance.set(new_distance);
// n.predecessor.set(Some(Rc::new(*v)));
}
}
// When changing a vertex' distance, the BinaryHeap doesn't
// update the position of the vertex.
// That's why we create a new heap with the right order.
let mut new_heap = BinaryHeap::new();
to_visit.iter().for_each(|x| new_heap.push(*x));
to_visit = new_heap;
}
}
}

#[derive(Eq)]
struct Vertex<'a> {
name: &'a str,
distance: Cell<usize>,
// predecessor: Cell<Option<Rc<Vertex<'a>>>>,
}

impl<'a> Vertex<'a> {
fn new(name: &'a str) -> Vertex<'a> {
Vertex {
name,
distance: Cell::new(usize::max_value()),
// predecessor: Cell::new(None),
}
}
}
impl<'a> Hash for Vertex<'a> {
fn hash<H: Hasher>(&self, state: &mut H) {
self.name.hash(state);
}
}

/// Since this Vertex will be put in a priority queue where the vertices
/// with the *smallest* distance should be processed first, cmp
/// returns GT if self.distance().get() < other.distance().get()
impl<'a> Ord for Vertex<'a> {
fn cmp(&self, other: &Vertex<'a>) -> Ordering {
other.distance.get().cmp(&self.distance.get())
}
}
impl<'a> PartialOrd for Vertex<'a> {
fn partial_cmp(&self, other: &Vertex<'a>) -> Option<Ordering> {
Some(self.cmp(other))
}
}
impl<'a> PartialEq for Vertex<'a> {
fn eq(&self, other: &Vertex<'a>) -> bool {
self.name == other.name
}
}

impl<'a> Debug for Vertex<'a> {
fn fmt(&self, f: &mut fmt::Formatter) -> fmt::Result {
write!(
f,
"name: {}, distance: {:?}",
self.name,
self.distance.get()
)
}
}


Things I'd especially like to improve and simplify, if possible:

• Type signatures: I've wrestled a bit with the borrow checker to get rid of "borrowed value doesn't live long enough". As a consequence I had to introduce (multiple) lifetime parameters at a couple of places
• BinaryHeap: At first it seemed like a good data structure to have fast access to the vertex with the smallest distance. But since BinaryHeap doesn't resort the values when they change, I had to improvise (and incur worse performance)

1. Pay attention to compiler warnings. Rust is a statically-compiled language. One of the big reasons you choose such a language is to get information at compile time:

warning: unused import: std::rc::Rc
--> src/main.rs:7:5
|
7 | use std::rc::Rc;
|     ^^^^^^^^^^^
|
= note: #[warn(unused_imports)] on by default

2. Modern Rust coalesces imports from the same crate.

3. You are inconsistent with your usage of for loops and for_each. Have a reason for using one or the other.

4. dijkstra requires no lifetime generics, so don't include them.

5. Don't have commented out code; that's what source control is for.

6. It feels very wrong to have Eq and Hash not working from the same data. This is undoubtedly sure to cause problems in the future.

7. It feels very wrong to have distance be a part of a Vertex; You can't calculate the distance for two things simultaneously.

8. Re-allocating the BinaryHeap so frequently feels like it will be highly inefficient.

9. You are deliberately formatting Vertex for output to the user. That means you should use Display, not Debug

10. Using something like usize::MAX to indicate "not visited" is not idiomatic Rust. This conflates two concepts.

use std::{
cell::Cell,
cmp::Ordering,
collections::{BinaryHeap, HashMap},
fmt,
hash::{Hash, Hasher},
};

fn main() {
let s = Vertex::new("s");
let t = Vertex::new("t");
let x = Vertex::new("x");
let y = Vertex::new("y");
let z = Vertex::new("z");

// A map from vertices to their adjacent vertices including costs
adjacency_list.insert(&y, vec![(&t, 3), (&x, 9), (&z, 2)]);

}

fn dijkstra(
start: &Vertex<'_>,
) {
start.distance.set(0);

// Fill the binary heap, vertices with the smallest distance go first
let mut to_visit = BinaryHeap::new();

// We visit the vertices with the smallest distance first, this is
// what makes Dijkstra a greedy algorithm
while let Some(v) = to_visit.pop() {
if let Some(neighbors) = adjacency_list.get(v) {
for (n, cost) in neighbors {
let new_distance = v.distance.get() + cost;
if new_distance < n.distance.get() {
n.distance.set(new_distance);
}
}
// When changing a vertex' distance, the BinaryHeap doesn't
// update the position of the vertex.
// That's why we create a new heap with the right order.
let mut new_heap = BinaryHeap::new();
to_visit.iter().for_each(|x| new_heap.push(*x));
to_visit = new_heap;
}
}
}

#[derive(Eq)]
struct Vertex<'a> {
name: &'a str,
distance: Cell<usize>,
}

impl<'a> Vertex<'a> {
fn new(name: &'a str) -> Vertex<'a> {
Vertex {
name,
distance: Cell::new(usize::max_value()),
}
}
}
impl<'a> Hash for Vertex<'a> {
fn hash<H: Hasher>(&self, state: &mut H) {
self.name.hash(state);
}
}

/// Since this Vertex will be put in a priority queue where the vertices
/// with the *smallest* distance should be processed first, cmp
/// returns GT if self.distance().get() < other.distance().get()
impl<'a> Ord for Vertex<'a> {
fn cmp(&self, other: &Vertex<'a>) -> Ordering {
other.distance.get().cmp(&self.distance.get())
}
}
impl<'a> PartialOrd for Vertex<'a> {
fn partial_cmp(&self, other: &Vertex<'a>) -> Option<Ordering> {
Some(self.cmp(other))
}
}
impl<'a> PartialEq for Vertex<'a> {
fn eq(&self, other: &Vertex<'a>) -> bool {
self.name == other.name
}
}

impl<'a> fmt::Display for Vertex<'a> {
fn fmt(&self, f: &mut fmt::Formatter) -> fmt::Result {
write!(
f,
"name: {}, distance: {}",
self.name,
self.distance.get()
)
}
}


Turning to petgraph's implementation of Dijkstra's algorithm for inspiration, I'd:

• Separate the costs from the graph
• Maintain a list of visited nodes
• Return the distances as a value
use std::{
cmp::Ordering,
collections::{BinaryHeap, HashMap, HashSet},
};

fn main() {
let s = Vertex::new("s");
let t = Vertex::new("t");
let x = Vertex::new("x");
let y = Vertex::new("y");
let z = Vertex::new("z");

adjacency_list.insert(y, vec![(t, 3), (x, 9), (z, 2)]);

for (v, d) in &distances {
println!("name: {}, distance: {}", v.name, d);
}

assert_eq!(distances.get(&t), Some(&8));
assert_eq!(distances.get(&s), Some(&0));
assert_eq!(distances.get(&y), Some(&5));
assert_eq!(distances.get(&x), Some(&9));
assert_eq!(distances.get(&z), Some(&7));
}

fn dijkstra<'a>(
start: Vertex<'a>,
) -> HashMap<Vertex<'a>, usize> {
let mut distances = HashMap::new();
let mut visited = HashSet::new();
let mut to_visit = BinaryHeap::new();

distances.insert(start, 0);
to_visit.push(Visit {
vertex: start,
distance: 0,
});

while let Some(Visit { vertex, distance }) = to_visit.pop() {
if !visited.insert(vertex) {
continue;
}

if let Some(neighbors) = adjacency_list.get(&vertex) {
for (neighbor, cost) in neighbors {
let new_distance = distance + cost;
let is_shorter = distances
.get(&neighbor)
.map_or(true, |&current| new_distance < current);

if is_shorter {
distances.insert(*neighbor, new_distance);
to_visit.push(Visit {
vertex: *neighbor,
distance: new_distance,
});
}
}
}
}

distances
}

#[derive(Debug, Copy, Clone, PartialEq, Eq, Hash)]
struct Vertex<'a> {
name: &'a str,
}

impl<'a> Vertex<'a> {
fn new(name: &'a str) -> Vertex<'a> {
Vertex { name }
}
}

#[derive(Debug)]
struct Visit<V> {
vertex: V,
distance: usize,
}

impl<V> Ord for Visit<V> {
fn cmp(&self, other: &Self) -> Ordering {
other.distance.cmp(&self.distance)
}
}

impl<V> PartialOrd for Visit<V> {
fn partial_cmp(&self, other: &Self) -> Option<Ordering> {
Some(self.cmp(other))
}
}

impl<V> PartialEq for Visit<V> {
fn eq(&self, other: &Self) -> bool {
self.distance.eq(&other.distance)
}
}

impl<V> Eq for Visit<V> {}


1. There's no need to take references to Vertex if it's only a reference itself. Implement Copy instead.
• Thanks a lot for the great feedback! Regarding "It feels very wrong to have Eq and Hash not working from the same data": I agree, but I assumed derive(Eq) would look to the PartialEq implementation which uses exclusively name as its data (just as Hash does). Sep 1 '18 at 12:20