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Just FYI, this isn't much like the Travelling Salesman Problem (or TSP) as that requires a path that visits every node in the network, usually for a minimum cost (there are many variations, such as using each link only once, etc.) which is probably not what you are after. In any case you should find some valuable tools on the CPAN in Graph as Fletch advises.

Update: Graph is not so complicated, though you could argue it is overkill for this simple example:

use strict; use warnings; use Graph; my $net = Graph::Undirected->new; # links go both ways my $start = '1.2.3.4'; my $end = '1.2.3.6'; while(<DATA>) { chomp(my($from,$to) = (split /\s+[^\d.]+\s+/)[0,1]); if($net->has_edge($from,$to) ) { print "duplication of $from to $to\n"; # shows Graph understands u +ndirected links }else{ $net->add_edge($from, $to); print "link from $from to $to added\n"; } } print "the nodes are: ", join(', ', sort $net->vertices), "\n"; print "the links are: ",$net, "\n"; print "a shortest path from $start to $end is: ", join ' => ', $net->S +P_Dijkstra($start,$end); __DATA__ 1.2.3.4 links with 1.2.3.5 1.2.3.5 links with 1.2.3.4 1.2.3.5 links with 1.2.3.6 1.2.3.6 links with 1.2.3.5 1.2.3.6 links with 1.2.3.7 1.2.3.7 links with 1.2.3.6 1.2.3.7 links with 1.2.3.4 1.2.3.4 links with 1.2.3.7 1.2.3.5 links with 1.2.3.7 1.2.3.7 links with 1.2.3.5
produces:
link from 1.2.3.4 to 1.2.3.5 added duplication of 1.2.3.5 to 1.2.3.4 link from 1.2.3.5 to 1.2.3.6 added duplication of 1.2.3.6 to 1.2.3.5 link from 1.2.3.6 to 1.2.3.7 added duplication of 1.2.3.7 to 1.2.3.6 link from 1.2.3.7 to 1.2.3.4 added duplication of 1.2.3.4 to 1.2.3.7 link from 1.2.3.5 to 1.2.3.7 added duplication of 1.2.3.7 to 1.2.3.5 the nodes are: 1.2.3.4, 1.2.3.5, 1.2.3.6, 1.2.3.7 the links are: 1.2.3.4=1.2.3.5,1.2.3.4=1.2.3.7,1.2.3.5=1.2.3.6,1.2.3.5 +=1.2.3.7,1.2.3.6=1.2.3.7 a shortest path from 1.2.3.4 to 1.2.3.6 is: 1.2.3.4 => 1.2.3.7 => 1.2. +3.6

--
I'd like to be able to assign to an luser


In reply to Re: traversing a hash looking for path? by Albannach
in thread traversing a hash looking for path? by Anonymous Monk

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