Recursion in the Real World

Computer science sophomores learn that recursion can neatly solve complex problems, e.g., Hanoi rings, wildcard handling, and parsing. In practice, however, recursion can be problematic for several reasons. First of all, it’s complicated. Every recursion-based algorithm can be expressed as an iterative one. Thus, instead of having a function call itself repeatedly until a certain condition becomes true, you can use a while statement or a similar simple construct. Recursion is less intuitive for an average programmer?iteration is much more common in everyday programming. Secondly, iteration is significantly more efficient than recursion because it avoids the overhead of a full-blown function call (note that recursive calls are never inlined). Furthermore, while the number of iterations is virtually unlimited, i.e., you can have a loop that executes infinitely, every operating system limits the number of recursive calls allowed. The limit depends on the available stack memory and other factors such as system load, the size of the function’s argument list, etc. Thus, the behavior of a large number of recursive calls is unpredictable: such a function may succeed or cause a runtime crash, depending on the system’s state. Recursion is cute and can impress your college instructor. Still, in real world programming, it should be rarely used, if at all.

Share the Post:
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin


The Latest

homes in the real estate industry

Exploring the Latest Tech Trends Impacting the Real Estate Industry

The real estate industry is changing thanks to the newest technological advancements. These new developments — from blockchain and AI to virtual reality and 3D printing — are poised to change how we buy and sell homes. Real estate brokers, buyers, sellers, wholesale real estate professionals, fix and flippers, and beyond may

man on floor with data

DevX Quick Guide to Data Ingestion

One of the biggest trends of the 21st century is the massive surge in internet usage. With major innovations such as smart technology, social media, and online shopping sites, the internet has become an essential part of everyday life for a large portion of the population. Due to this internet

payment via phone

7 Ways Technology Has Changed Traditional Payments

In today’s digital world, technology has changed how we make payments. From contactless cards to mobile wallets, it’s now easier to pay for goods and services without carrying cash or using a checkbook. This article will look at seven of the most significant ways technology has transformed traditional payment methods.