Geometric Spanning Trees Minimizing the Wiener Index


  • Karim Abu-Affash Shamoon College of Engineering
  • Paz Carmi Ben-Gurion University
  • Ori Luwisch Ben-Gurion University
  • Joseph Mitchell Stony Brook University



The Wiener index of a network, introduced by the chemist Harry Wiener, is the sum of distances between all pairs of nodes in the network. This index, originally used in chemical graph representations of the non-hydrogen atoms of a molecule, is considered to be a fundamental and useful network descriptor. We study the problem of constructing geometric networks on point sets in Euclidean space that minimize the Wiener index: given a set P of n$points in Rd, the goal is to construct a network, spanning P and satisfying certain constraints, that minimizes the Wiener index among the allowable class of spanning networks.

In this work, we focus mainly on spanning networks that are trees and we focus on problems in the plane (d = 2). We show that any spanning tree that minimizes the Wiener index has non-crossing edges in the plane. Then, we use this fact to devise an O(n4)-time algorithm that constructs a spanning tree of minimum Wiener index for points in convex position. We also prove that the problem of computing a spanning tree on P whose Wiener index is at most W, while having total (Euclidean) weight at most B, is NP-hard.

Computing a tree that minimizes the Wiener index has been studied in the area of communication networks, where it is known as the minimum routing cost spanning tree problem.




How to Cite

Abu-Affash, K., Carmi, P., Luwisch, O., & Mitchell, J. (2024). Geometric Spanning Trees Minimizing the Wiener Index. Computing in Geometry and Topology, 3(1), 2:1–2:15.



Original Research Articles