# Implementing Dijkstra Algorithm in Go

### Jonatas Baldin ・5 min read

Originally posted at Deploy Everyday.

I didn't go through Computer Science, had a very early dropout. Since I started working in the tech space, I cared a lot about RESTful APIs, preventing systems to fail. Algorithms and data structures always seemed daunting and terrifying.

After picking up the Grokking Algorithms book and giving up three times, I finally decided to put some real effort into it. And it's being an amazing adventure, I can't recommend it enough!

Chapter 7 is all about the famous Dijkstra Algorithm: finding the shortest path for a vertice in a graph. A bunch of pomodoros later, *I got it*. The code below is as commented as possible, to solidify the knowledge in my head and help others as well. I also wrote unit tests and the answers to the book's exercises here.

I won't go in much detail explaining the theory behind it, other resources do a better job I'd be capable of. Start with this quick video, take a look at Brilliant's article and, of course, read the already mentioned book if you can.

It probably can be improved, as everything can. I think this is a nice balance between "working" and "readable". If you have any nice tips to contribute, please leave it in the comments ✨

Well, here it is, the Dijkstra Algorithm in Go:

```
package main
import (
"fmt"
"sort"
"strconv"
)
type Graph struct {
Edges []*Edge
Nodes []*Node
}
type Edge struct {
Parent *Node
Child *Node
Cost int
}
type Node struct {
Name string
}
const Infinity = int(^uint(0) >> 1)
// AddEdge adds an Edge to the Graph
func (g *Graph) AddEdge(parent, child *Node, cost int) {
edge := &Edge{
Parent: parent,
Child: child,
Cost: cost,
}
g.Edges = append(g.Edges, edge)
g.AddNode(parent)
g.AddNode(child)
}
// AddNode adds a Node to the Graph list of Nodes, if the the node wasn't already added
func (g *Graph) AddNode(node *Node) {
var isPresent bool
for _, n := range g.Nodes {
if n == node {
isPresent = true
}
}
if !isPresent {
g.Nodes = append(g.Nodes, node)
}
}
// String returns a string representation of the Graph
func (g *Graph) String() string {
var s string
s += "Edges:\n"
for _, edge := range g.Edges {
s += edge.Parent.Name + " -> " + edge.Child.Name + " = " + strconv.Itoa(edge.Cost)
s += "\n"
}
s += "\n"
s += "Nodes: "
for i, node := range g.Nodes {
if i == len(g.Nodes)-1 {
s += node.Name
} else {
s += node.Name + ", "
}
}
s += "\n"
return s
}
// Dijkstra implements THE Dijkstra algorithm
// Returns the shortest path from startNode to all the other Nodes
func (g *Graph) Dijkstra(startNode *Node) (shortestPathTable string) {
// First, we instantiate a "Cost Table", it will hold the information:
// "From startNode, what's is the cost to all the other Nodes?"
// When initialized, It looks like this:
// NODE COST
// A 0 // The startNode has always the lowest cost to itself, in this case, 0
// B Inf // the distance to all the other Nodes are unknown, so we mark as Infinity
// C Inf
// ...
costTable := g.NewCostTable(startNode)
// An empty list of "visited" Nodes. Everytime the algorithm runs on a Node, we add it here
var visited []*Node
// A loop to visit all Nodes
for len(visited) != len(g.Nodes) {
// Get closest non visited Node (lower cost) from the costTable
node := getClosestNonVisitedNode(costTable, visited)
// Mark Node as visited
visited = append(visited, node)
// Get Node's Edges (its neighbors)
nodeEdges := g.GetNodeEdges(node)
for _, edge := range nodeEdges {
// The distance to that neighbor, let's say B is the cost from the costTable + the cost to get there (Edge cost)
// In the first run, the costTable says it's "Infinity"
// Plus the actual cost, let's say "5"
// The distance becomes "5"
distanceToNeighbor := costTable[node] + edge.Cost
// If the distance above is lesser than the distance currently in the costTable for that neighbor
if distanceToNeighbor < costTable[edge.Child] {
// Update the costTable for that neighbor
costTable[edge.Child] = distanceToNeighbor
}
}
}
// Make the costTable nice to read :)
for node, cost := range costTable {
shortestPathTable += fmt.Sprintf("Distance from %s to %s = %d\n", startNode.Name, node.Name, cost)
}
return shortestPathTable
}
// NewCostTable returns an initialized cost table for the Dijkstra algorithm work with
// by default, the lowest cost is assigned to the startNode – so the algorithm starts from there
// all the other Nodes in the Graph receives the Infinity value
func (g *Graph) NewCostTable(startNode *Node) map[*Node]int {
costTable := make(map[*Node]int)
costTable[startNode] = 0
for _, node := range g.Nodes {
if node != startNode {
costTable[node] = Infinity
}
}
return costTable
}
// GetNodeEdges returns all the Edges that start with the specified Node
// In other terms, returns all the Edges connecting to the Node's neighbors
func (g *Graph) GetNodeEdges(node *Node) (edges []*Edge) {
for _, edge := range g.Edges {
if edge.Parent == node {
edges = append(edges, edge)
}
}
return edges
}
// getClosestNonVisitedNode returns the closest Node (with the lower cost) from the costTable
// **if the node hasn't been visited yet**
func getClosestNonVisitedNode(costTable map[*Node]int, visited []*Node) *Node {
type CostTableToSort struct {
Node *Node
Cost int
}
var sorted []CostTableToSort
// Verify if the Node has been visited already
for node, cost := range costTable {
var isVisited bool
for _, visitedNode := range visited {
if node == visitedNode {
isVisited = true
}
}
// If not, add them to the sorted slice
if !isVisited {
sorted = append(sorted, CostTableToSort{node, cost})
}
}
// We need the Node with the lower cost from the costTable
// So it's important to sort it
// Here I'm using an anonymous struct to make it easier to sort a map
sort.Slice(sorted, func(i, j int) bool {
return sorted[i].Cost < sorted[j].Cost
})
return sorted[0].Node
}
func main() {
a := &Node{Name: "a"}
b := &Node{Name: "b"}
c := &Node{Name: "c"}
d := &Node{Name: "d"}
e := &Node{Name: "e"}
f := &Node{Name: "f"}
g := &Node{Name: "g"}
graph := Graph{}
graph.AddEdge(a, c, 2)
graph.AddEdge(a, b, 5)
graph.AddEdge(c, b, 1)
graph.AddEdge(c, d, 9)
graph.AddEdge(b, d, 4)
graph.AddEdge(d, e, 2)
graph.AddEdge(d, g, 30)
graph.AddEdge(d, f, 10)
graph.AddEdge(f, g, 1)
fmt.Println(graph.Dijkstra(a))
}
```

The output will be:

```
Distance from a to a = 0
Distance from a to c = 2
Distance from a to b = 3
Distance from a to d = 7
Distance from a to e = 9
Distance from a to g = 18
Distance from a to f = 17
```

I'm so happy 😌

@edit: The code above is the version 1. Due community contributions (thanks!), it improved! Get the latest version here.