Mala Mahadevan looks at the shortest path function in SQL Server Graph:

‘Shortest path’ is the term accorded to the shortest distance between any two points, referred to as nodes in graph databases. The algorithm that helps you find the shortest distance between node A and node B is called the Shortest Path Algorithm.

Let us go back to the movie database. We have two people, say Amrish Puri and Harrison Ford. Amrish wants to meet Harrison Ford. He has not acted with Ford, he may have a few connections in common – or people who know him. Or people who know him who know him. This is one way to get an introduction. Or, let us say you are interviewing for a job. You want to see if someone in your network works at that place – so that you can get an idea of what the job or the company is like. So you go on linkedin – do a search for the company, look under ‘people’, and it tells you if anyone in your network is there, or someone is 2 levels away, or 3. Those numbers are what we get from the shortest path feature.

Read on for a few examples of shortest path in action.