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A Matching in a graph G = (V, E) is a subset M of E edges in G such that no two of which meet at a common vertex.

Maximum Cardinality Matching (MCM) problem is a Graph Matching problem where we seek a matching M that contains the largest possible number of edges. A possible variant is Perfect Matching where all V vertices are matched, i.e., the cardinality of M is V/2.

A Bipartite Graph is a graph whose vertices can be partitioned into two disjoint sets U and V such that every edge can only connect a vertex in U to a vertex in V.

Maximum Cardinality Bipartite Matching (MCBM) problem is the MCM problem in a Bipartite Graph, which is a lot easier than MCM problem in a General Graph.

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If you are an NUS student and a repeat visitor, please login.


This visualization is currently limited to unweighted graphs only. Thus, we currently do not support Graph Matching problem variants involving weighted graphs...

Pro-tip 1: Since you are not logged-in, you may be a first time visitor (or not an NUS student) who are not aware of the following keyboard shortcuts to navigate this e-Lecture mode: [PageDown]/[PageUp] to go to the next/previous slide, respectively, (and if the drop-down box is highlighted, you can also use [→ or ↓/← or ↑] to do the same),and [Esc] to toggle between this e-Lecture mode and exploration mode.


To switch between the unweighted MCBM (default, as it is much more popular) and unweighted MCM mode, click the respective header.

Here is an example of MCM mode. In MCM mode, one can draw a General, not necessarily Bipartite graphs. However, the graphs are unweighted (all edges have uniform weight 1).

The available algorithms are different in the two modes.

Pro-tip 2: We designed this visualization and this e-Lecture mode to look good on 1366x768 resolution or larger (typical modern laptop resolution in 2021). We recommend using Google Chrome to access VisuAlgo. Go to full screen mode (F11) to enjoy this setup. However, you can use zoom-in (Ctrl +) or zoom-out (Ctrl -) to calibrate this.


You can view the visualisation here!

For Bipartite Graph visualization, we will re-layout the vertices of the graph so that the two disjoint sets (U and V) are clearly visible as Left (U) and Right (V) sets. For General Graph, we do not relayout the vertices.

Initially, edges have grey color. Matched edges will have black color. Free/Matched edges along an augmenting path will have Orange/Light Blue colors, respectively.

Pro-tip 3: Other than using the typical media UI at the bottom of the page, you can also control the animation playback using keyboard shortcuts (in Exploration Mode): Spacebar to play/pause/replay the animation, / to step the animation backwards/forwards, respectively, and -/+ to decrease/increase the animation speed, respectively.


There are three different sources for specifying an input graph:

  1. Draw Graph: You can draw any undirected unweighted graph as the input graph (note that in MCBM mode, the drawn input graph will be relayout into a nice Bipartite graph layout during algorithm animation),
  2. Modeling: A lot of graph problems can be reduced into an MCBM problem. In this visualization, we have the modeling examples for the famous Rook Attack problem and standard MCBM problem (also valid in MCM mode).
  3. Examples: You can select from the list of our example graphs to get you started. The list of examples is slightly different in the two MCBM vs MCM modes.

There are several Max Cardinality Bipartite Matching (MCBM) algorithms in this visualization, plus one more in Max Flow visualization:

  1. O(VE) Augmenting Path Algorithm (without greedy pre-processing),
  2. O(√(V)E) Dinic's Max Flow Algorithm, see Max Flow visualization, select Modeling → Bipartite Matching → All 1, then use Dinic's algorithm.
  3. O(√(V)E) Hopcroft-Karp Algorithm,
  4. O(kE) Augmenting Path Algorithm++ (with randomized greedy pre-processing),

PS1: Although possible, we will likely not use O(V3) Edmonds' Matching Algorithm if the input is guaranteed to be a Bipartite Graph.

PS2: Although possible, we will also likely not use O(V3) Kuhn-Munkres Algorithm if the input is guaranteed to be an unweighted Bipartite Graph.


Augmenting Path is a path that starts from a free (unmatched) vertex u in graph G (note that G does not necessarily has to be a bipartite graph), alternates through unmatched, matched, ..., unmatched edges in G, until it ends at another free vertex v. If we flip the edge status along that augmenting path, we will increase the number of edges in the matching set M by 1 and eliminates this augmenting path.

In 1957, Claude Berge proposes the following theorem/lemma: A matching M in graph G is maximum iff there is no more augmenting path in G.

The Augmenting Path Algorithm is a simple O(V*(V+E)) = O(V2 + VE) = O(VE) implementation of that lemma (on Bipartite Graph): Find and then eliminate augmenting paths in Bipartite Graph G. Click Augmenting Path Algorithm Demo to visualize this algorithm on the currently displayed random Bipartite Graph.

vi match, vis; // global variables

int Aug(int L) {
if (vis[L]) return 0; // L visited, return 0
vis[L] = 1;
for (auto &R : AL[L])
if ((match[R] == -1) || Aug(match[R])) {
match[R] = L; // flip status
return 1; // found 1 matching
return 0; // no matching
// in int main(), build the bipartite graph
// use directed edges from left set (of size VLeft) to right set
int MCBM = 0;
match.assign(V, -1);
for (int L = 0; L < VLeft; ++L) {
vis.assign(VLeft, 0);
MCBM += Aug(L); // find augmenting path starting from L
printf("Found %d matchings\n", MCBM);

Please see the full implementation at Competitive Programming book repository: mcbm.cpp | py | java | ml.


The MCBM problem can be modeled as a Max Flow problem. Go to Max Flow visualization page and see the flow graph modeling of MCBM problem (select Modeling → Bipartite Matching → all 1).

If we use one of the fastest Max Flow algorithm, i.e., Dinic's algorithm on this flow graph, we can find Max Flow = MCBM in O(√(V)E) time — analysis omitted for now. This allows us to solve MCBM problem with V ∈ [1000..1500] in a typical 1s allowed runtime in many programming competitions.


If we are given a Complete Bipartite Graph KN/2,N/2, i.e.,
V = N/2+N/2 = N and E = N/2×N/2 = N2/4 ≈ N2, then
the Augmenting Path Algorithm discussed earlier will run in O(VE) = O(N×N2) = O(N3).

This is only OK for V ∈ [400..500] in a typical 1s allowed runtime in many programming competitions.

Try executing the standard Augmenting Path Algorithm on this Extreme Test Case, which is an almost complete K5,5 Bipartite Graph.


The key idea of Hopcroft-Karp (HK) Algorithm (invented in 1973) is identical to Dinic's Max Flow Algorithm discussed earlier, i.e., prioritize shortest augmenting paths (in terms of number of edges used) first. That's it, augmenting paths with 1 edge are processed first before longer augmenting paths with 3 edges, 5 edges, 7 edges, etc (the length always increase by 2 due to the nature of augmenting path in a Bipartite Graph).

Hopcroft-Karp Algorithm has time complexity of O(√(V)E) — analysis omitted for now. This allows us to solve MCBM problem with V ∈ [1000..1500] in a typical 1s allowed runtime in many programming competitions — the similar range as with running Dinic's algorithm on Bipartite Matching flow graph.

Try HK Algorithm on the same Extreme Test Case earlier. You will notice that HK Algorithm can find the MCBM in a much faster time than the previous standard O(VE) Augmenting Path Algorithm.


However, we can actually make the easy-to-code Augmenting Path Algorithm discussed earlier to avoid its worst case O(VE) behavior by doing O(V+E) randomized (to avoid adversary test case) greedy pre-processing before running the actual algorithm.

This O(V+E) additional pre-processing step is simple: For every vertex on the left set, match it with a randomly chosen unmatched neighbouring vertex on the right set. This way, we eliminates many trivial (one-edge) Augmenting Paths that consist of a free vertex u, an unmatched edge (u, v), and a free vertex v.

Try Augmenting Path Algorithm++ on the same Extreme Test Case earlier. Notice that the pre-processing step already eliminates many trivial 1-edge augmenting paths, making the actual Augmenting Path Algorithm only need to do little amount of additional work.


Quite often, on randomly generated Bipartite Graph, the randomized greedy pre-processing step has cleared most of the matchings.

However, we can construct test case like: Examples: Randomized Greedy Processing Killer to make randomization as ineffective as possible. For every group of 4 vertices, there are 2 matchings. Random greedy processing has 50% chance of making mistake per group (but since each group has only short Augmenting Paths, the fixes are not 'long'). Try this Test Case with Multiple Components case to see for yourself.

The worst case time complexity is no longer O(VE) but now O(kE) where k is a small integer, much smaller than V, k can be as small as 0 and is at most V/2 (any maximal matching, as with this case, has size of at least half of the maximum matching). In our empirical experiments, we estimate k to be "about √(V)" too. This version of Augmenting Path Algorithm++ also allows us to solve MCBM problem with V ∈ [1000..1500] in a typical 1s allowed runtime in many programming competitions.


There are two Max Cardinality Matching (MCM) algorithms in this visualization:

  1. O(V^3) Edmonds's Matching algorithm (without greedy pre-processing),
  2. O(V^3) Edmonds's Matching algorithm (with greedy pre-processing),

In General Graph, we may have Odd-Length cycle. Augmenting Path is not well defined in such graph, hence we cannot directly implement Claude Berge's theorem/lemma like what we did with Bipartite Graph.

Jack Edmonds call a path that starts from a free vertex u, alternates between free, matched, ..., free edges, and returns to the same free vertex u as Blossom. This situation is only possible if we have Odd-Length cycle, i.e., non-Bipartite Graph. Edmonds then proposed Blossom shrinking/contraction and expansion algorithm to solve this issue.

For details on how this algorithm works, read CP4 Section 9.28.

This algorithm can be implemented in O(V^3).


As with the Augmenting Path Algorithm++ for the MCBM problem, we can also do randomized greedy pre-processing step to eliminate as many 'trivial matchings' as possible upfront. This reduces the amount of work of Edmonds' Matching Algorithm, thus resulting in a faster time complexity — analysis TBA.


We have not added visualizations for weighted variant of MCBM and MCM problems (future work).


You are allowed to use/modify our implementation code for Augmenting Path Algorithm++: mcbm.cpp| py | java | ml

You have reached the last slide. Return to 'Exploration Mode' to start exploring!

Note that if you notice any bug in this visualization or if you want to request for a new visualization feature, do not hesitate to drop an email to the project leader: Dr Steven Halim via his email address: stevenhalim at gmail dot com.







Rook Attack

Generate Random Bipartite Graph

Undirected Max Flow Killer

House of Cards

CS4234 Tutorial 3


Randomized Greedy Processing Killer


>K5,5 (Almost)



Hopcroft Karp

Edmonds Blossom

Edmonds Blossom + Greedy

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VisuAlgo于2011年由Steven Halim博士创建,是一个允许学生以自己的速度自学基础知识,从而更好地学习数据结构与算法的工具。
VisuAlgo包含许多高级算法,这些算法在Steven Halim博士的书(“Competitive Programming”,与他的兄弟Felix Halim博士合作)和其他书中有讨论。今天,一些高级算法的可视化/动画只能在VisuAlgo中找到。
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Dr Steven Halim, Senior Lecturer, School of Computing (SoC), National University of Singapore (NUS)
Dr Felix Halim, Senior Software Engineer, Google (Mountain View)

本科生研究人员 1 (Jul 2011-Apr 2012)
Koh Zi Chun, Victor Loh Bo Huai

最后一年项目/ UROP学生 1 (Jul 2012-Dec 2013)
Phan Thi Quynh Trang, Peter Phandi, Albert Millardo Tjindradinata, Nguyen Hoang Duy

最后一年项目/ UROP学生 2 (Jun 2013-Apr 2014)
Rose Marie Tan Zhao Yun, Ivan Reinaldo

本科生研究人员 2 (May 2014-Jul 2014)
Jonathan Irvin Gunawan, Nathan Azaria, Ian Leow Tze Wei, Nguyen Viet Dung, Nguyen Khac Tung, Steven Kester Yuwono, Cao Shengze, Mohan Jishnu

最后一年项目/ UROP学生 3 (Jun 2014-Apr 2015)
Erin Teo Yi Ling, Wang Zi

最后一年项目/ UROP学生 4 (Jun 2016-Dec 2017)
Truong Ngoc Khanh, John Kevin Tjahjadi, Gabriella Michelle, Muhammad Rais Fathin Mudzakir

最后一年项目/ UROP学生 5 (Aug 2021-Dec 2022)
Liu Guangyuan, Manas Vegi, Sha Long, Vuong Hoang Long

List of translators who have contributed ≥100 translations can be found at statistics page.



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Note that VisuAlgo's online quiz component is by nature has heavy server-side component and there is no easy way to save the server-side scripts and databases locally. Currently, the general public can only use the 'training mode' to access these online quiz system. Currently the 'test mode' is a more controlled environment for using these randomly generated questions and automatic verification for real examinations in NUS.

List of Publications

This work has been presented briefly at the CLI Workshop at the ICPC World Finals 2012 (Poland, Warsaw) and at the IOI Conference at IOI 2012 (Sirmione-Montichiari, Italy). You can click this link to read our 2012 paper about this system (it was not yet called VisuAlgo back in 2012) and this link for the short update in 2015 (to link VisuAlgo name with the previous project).

This work is done mostly by my past students. 

Bug Reports or Request for New Features

VisuAlgo is not a finished project. Dr Steven Halim is still actively improving VisuAlgo. If you are using VisuAlgo and spot a bug in any of our visualization page/online quiz tool or if you want to request for new features, please contact Dr Steven Halim. His contact is the concatenation of his name and add gmail dot com.


Version 1.1 (Updated Fri, 14 Jan 2022).

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Since Wed, 22 Dec 2021, only National University of Singapore (NUS) staffs/students and approved CS lecturers outside of NUS who have written a request to Steven can login to VisuAlgo, anyone else in the world will have to use VisuAlgo as an anonymous user that is not really trackable other than what are tracked by Google Analytics.

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