Trees and Graphs in C++ - A Basic Overview

Trees and graphs are fundamental data structures in computer science, used for various applications in C++ and other programming languages. In this guide, we'll provide a basic overview of trees and graphs in C++, along with sample code and explanations.

1. Trees

A tree is a hierarchical data structure with a root node and zero or more child nodes. Each node in a tree may have a parent and zero or more children. Trees are widely used for organizing and representing data. In C++, you can implement different types of trees, such as binary trees, binary search trees, and AVL trees:

#include <iostream>
struct TreeNode {
int data;
TreeNode* left;
TreeNode* right;
int main() {
// Create a simple binary tree
TreeNode* root = new TreeNode{1, nullptr, nullptr};
root->left = new TreeNode{2, nullptr, nullptr};
root->right = new TreeNode{3, nullptr, nullptr};
// Perform tree traversal (in-order)
void inOrderTraversal(TreeNode* node) {
if (node == nullptr) return;
std::cout << node->data << " ";
return 0;

2. Graphs

A graph is a collection of nodes connected by edges. Graphs can be directed or undirected, and they are used for modeling relationships and networks. In C++, you can implement graphs using various representations, such as adjacency lists and adjacency matrices:

#include <iostream>
#include <vector>
class Graph {
Graph(int vertices) : V(vertices) {
void addEdge(int from, int to) {
void printGraph() {
for (int i = 0; i < V; ++i) {
std::cout << "Adjacency list of vertex " << i << ": ";
for (int v : adjacencyList[i]) {
std::cout << v << " ";
std::cout << std::endl;
int V; // Number of vertices
std::vector<std::vector<int>> adjacencyList;
int main() {
Graph graph(4);
graph.addEdge(0, 1);
graph.addEdge(0, 2);
graph.addEdge(1, 2);
graph.addEdge(2, 0);
graph.addEdge(2, 3);
graph.addEdge(3, 3);
return 0;

3. Use Cases

Trees are used for tasks like representing hierarchical data (e.g., file systems) and implementing search algorithms (e.g., binary search). Graphs are used for modeling networks, solving routing problems, and representing relationships (e.g., social networks).


Trees and graphs are versatile data structures that have numerous applications in computer science. By understanding their principles and using C++ to implement and manipulate them, you can solve a wide range of problems and represent complex data structures in your programs.