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Why incidence and adjacency matrices (graph theory)h

  1. Oct 4, 2012 #1
    My book introduces the concept of adjacency and incidence matrices but I don't understand its use.
    Normally we shift from mathematical symbols and representation to graphical interpretation like in Cartesian graphs - to visualize functions better we draw them on a graph.
    But here we are doing the opposite. From nice graphs we are shifting towards matrices that do not help us much visually
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 4, 2012 #2

    Stephen Tashi

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    Science Advisor

    That's false. For example, we generally don't compute derivative of a function by graphing it and then trying to do some geometric construction on a graph. My impression of visual presentations is that they are rather like decorations that accompany the mainstream of mathematics as it follows a mostly symbolic course.

    As to graph theory, what would a visual proof about a graph with 5,000 nodes look like? What are the rules of the game for visual proofs? Do you say, "See, you can look at the picture and tell that..."?
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