I have implemented a depth first search using a stack (in a separate class). Any suggestions please on improvements for the below code:

class Stack:
    """(LIFO) queuing policy implemented using python list."""

    def __init__(self):
        self.list = []

    def push(self, item):
        """Push 'item' onto the stack."""

    def pop(self):
        """Pop the most recently pushed item from the stack."""
        return self.list.pop()

    def top(self):
        """Return the last element."""
        return self.list[-1]

    def is_empty(self):
        """Returns true if the stack is empty."""
        return len(self.list) == 0

def depth_first_search(graph, start):
    stack = Stack()
    path = []

    while not stack.is_empty():
        vertex = stack.pop()
        if vertex in path:
        for neighbor in graph[vertex]:

    return path

def main():
    adjacency_matrix = {
        1: [2, 3],
        2: [4, 5],
        3: [5],
        4: [6],
        5: [6],
        6: [7],
        7: []
    dfs_path = depth_first_search(adjacency_matrix, 1)

if __name__ == '__main__':

Lists in Python are already stacks. It would be better if you used a raw list as people are more familiar with lists then a custom Stack class.

When using a plain Python list the while loop can take advantage of lists being truthy if they have items. This allows you to do while stack: instead.

I would prefer this to be a generator function as we likely won't need the entire DFS path. path can then be a set for \$O(1)\$ lookup rather than a list with \$O(n)\$ lookup. ("if vertex in path:")

def depth_first_search(graph, start):
    stack = [start]
    visited = set()
    while stack:
        vertex = stack.pop()
        if vertex in visited:
        yield vertex
        for neighbor in graph[vertex]:
| improve this answer | |
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Small clarification: the reason I've used a separate Stack class is because DFS uses stack. Although python lists are essentially stacks, I though it would be better if I'm explicit about it. \$\endgroup\$ – Saurabh Aug 2 at 4:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Saurabh That is understandable. If you at all feel my explanation lacking just say and I'll amend it when possible :) \$\endgroup\$ – Peilonrayz Aug 2 at 5:00
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ thank you for a very clear & detailed explanation :) \$\endgroup\$ – Saurabh Aug 2 at 5:06

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