How efficient is Dijkstra’s algorithm? Let’s break it into different parts:

  • Searching through the graph
  • Keeping track of distances

Just like breadth-first search and depth-first search, to search through an entire graph, in the worst case, we would go through all of the edges and all of the vertices resulting in a runtime of O(E + V).

For Dijkstra’s, we use a min-heap to keep track of all the distances. Searching through and updating a min-heap with V nodes takes O(log V) because in each layer of the min-heap, we reduce the number of nodes we are looking at by a factor of 2.


In the worst case, we would update the min-heap every iteration. Since there are at most E + V iterations of Dijkstra’s and it takes log V to update a min-heap in the worst case, then the runtime of Dijkstra’s is O((E+V)log V).

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