Concept

# Recursive definition

Summary
In mathematics and computer science, a recursive definition, or inductive definition, is used to define the elements in a set in terms of other elements in the set (Aczel 1977:740ff). Some examples of recursively-definable objects include factorials, natural numbers, Fibonacci numbers, and the Cantor ternary set. A recursive definition of a function defines values of the function for some inputs in terms of the values of the same function for other (usually smaller) inputs. For example, the factorial function n! is defined by the rules :\begin{align} & 0! = 1. \ & (n+1)! = (n+1) \cdot n!. \end{align} This definition is valid for each natural number n, because the recursion eventually reaches the base case of 0. The definition may also be thought of as giving a procedure for computing the value of the function n!, starting from n = 0 and proceeding onwards with n = 1, 2, 3 etc. The recursion theorem states that such a definition indeed defines a
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