Depth First Search (DFS) is a way of traversing or searching a Tree-(graph-theory) or Tree structure. Intuitively, you start at the root and explore as far as possible along each branch before backtracking.
Formally, DFS is an uninformed search that progresses by expanding the first child node of the search tree that appears and thus going deeper and deeper until a goal state is found, or it hits a node that has no children. Then the search backtracks and starts off on the next node.
From an algorithmic point-of view, all freshly expanded nodes are placed at the front of the search queue for expansion.
- DFS is complete - if the tree is finite, then a solution would be found if one exists.
- DFS is optimal with a finite tree and all non-negative path costs.
Compare Breadth-first search.