Concept

Recursion

Summary
Recursion occurs when the definition of a concept or process depends on a simpler version of itself. Recursion is used in a variety of disciplines ranging from linguistics to logic. The most common application of recursion is in mathematics and computer science, where a function being defined is applied within its own definition. While this apparently defines an infinite number of instances (function values), it is often done in such a way that no infinite loop or infinite chain of references can occur. A process that exhibits recursion is recursive. Formal definitions In mathematics and computer science, a class of objects or methods exhibits recursive behavior when it can be defined by two properties:
  • A simple base case (or cases) — a terminating scenario that does not use recursion to produce an answer
  • A recursive step — a set of rules that reduces all successive cases toward the base case.
For example, the following is a recursive definition of a person's ances
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