# Component (graph theory)

## Maximal subgraph whose vertices can reach each other / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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In graph theory, a **component** of an undirected graph is a connected subgraph that is not part of any larger connected subgraph. The components of any graph partition its vertices into disjoint sets, and are the induced subgraphs of those sets. A graph that is itself connected has exactly one component, consisting of the whole graph. Components are sometimes called **connected components**.

The number of components in a given graph is an important graph invariant, and is closely related to invariants of matroids, topological spaces, and matrices. In random graphs, a frequently occurring phenomenon is the incidence of a giant component, one component that is significantly larger than the others; and of a percolation threshold, an edge probability above which a giant component exists and below which it does not.

The components of a graph can be constructed in linear time, and a special case of the problem, connected-component labeling, is a basic technique in image analysis. Dynamic connectivity algorithms maintain components as edges are inserted or deleted in a graph, in low time per change. In computational complexity theory, connected components have been used to study algorithms with limited space complexity, and sublinear time algorithms can accurately estimate the number of components.