- Recursion is the name given to a programming technique in which repetition is achieved by having a function call itself. Non-recursive repetition is called iteration (looping).
- It can provide very elegant solutions to tasks that are difficult to achieve iteratively, like deleting nodes in a binary tree.
- In some languages, especially functional languages, recursion is the only way to achieve iteration. (Advanced: Because it does not use variables, recursion can be used to implement repetition without changing the program state. It is therefore safer in a distributed computing context because there are no side effects.)
- You can run out of memory easily if the base case is not applied correctly.
- Recursion can be quite confusing.
Create a page for recursion on your sites.
Add the definition, along with advantages and disadvantages. Make sure you understand them. What do I mean by the base case not being applied properly?
Write the following functions in Java both iteratively and recursively:
- A factorial function
- A function that takes an integer array and returns the sum of its contents.
Then we will start thinking about how to code a recursive solution to the Towers of Hanoi.