Chapter 12. Trees, Hierarchies, and Graphs

Although at times it may seem chaotic, the world around us is filled with structure and order. The universe itself is hierarchical in nature, made up of galaxies, stars, and planets. One of the natural hierarchies here on earth is the food chain that exists in the wild; a lion can certainly eat a zebra, but alas, a zebra will probably never dine on lion flesh. And of course, we're all familiar with corporate management hierarchies—which some companies try to kill off in favor of matrixes, which are not hierarchical at all . . . but more on that later!

We strive to describe our existence based on connections between entities—or lack thereof—and that's what trees, hierarchies, and graphs help us do at the ...

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