C# - iterative BFS - using prereq counting - clear explanation

  • 1

    Do BFS and each prereq that leads to a course will decrements the course's prereq count. When that course gets to zero it can now be "taken" and it can enqueue to decrement it's children. If the prereq counter for course is already zero there is a cycle. If not all courses were reached this is also indicative of a cycle because the prereq count never reached zero and that course could never be "taken".

        public int[] FindOrder(int numCourses, int[,] prerequisites) 
            // map :: key=course; value=list of courses that have the key as a pre-req
            List<int>[] map = new List<int>[numCourses];
            for (int i = 0; i < numCourses; i++) map[i] = new List<int>();
            // count number of pre-reqs for each course
            int[] cnts = new int[numCourses];
            // build graph and counts
            for (int i = 0; i < prerequisites.GetLength(0); i++)
                int course = prerequisites[i,0];
                int pre = prerequisites[i,1];
            // enqueue all course which have no pre-reqs
            Queue<int> queue = new Queue<int>();
            for (int i = 0; i < numCourses; i++) if (cnts[i] == 0) queue.Enqueue(i);
            // no starting point - cycle(s)
            if (queue.Count == 0) return new int[0];
            // track visited - only visit once
            bool[] visited = new bool[numCourses];
            // add to list on each first visit
            int[] order = new int[numCourses];
            int orderIndex = 0;
            // when unvisited decriment each child's count
            // if that child already has zero count -> cycle
            // if that child has zero count after deduction then enque this node
            while(queue.Count > 0)
                int i = queue.Dequeue(); 
                if (!visited[i])
                    visited[i] = true;
                    order[orderIndex++] = i;
                    foreach (int x in map[i])
                        if (cnts[x] == 0) return new int[0]; // cycle
                        if (cnts[x] == 0) queue.Enqueue(x);
            // if not all courses were added there were pre-reqs that could not be removed (cycle)
            return orderIndex < numCourses ? new int[0] : order;

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