Statistics Papers

Document Type

Journal Article

Date of this Version


Publication Source

Stein's Method and Applications

Start Page


Last Page



Two methods are used to compute the expected value of the length of the minimal spanning tree (MST) of a graph whose edges are assigned lengths which are independent and uniformly distributed. The first method yields an exact formula in terms of the Tutte polynomial. As an illustration, the expected length of the MST of the Petersen graph is found to be 34877/12012 = 2.9035 .... A second, more elementary, method for computing the expected length of the MST is then derived by conditioning on the length of the shortest edge. Both methods in principle apply to any finite graph. To illustrate the method we compute the expected lengths of the MSTs for complete graphs.

Copyright/Permission Statement

Preprint of an article submitted for consideration in Stein's Method and Applications © 2005 World Scientific Publishing Company.



Date Posted: 27 November 2017

This document has been peer reviewed.