Calculating factorial

Tim Hochberg tim.hochberg at
Wed Dec 6 11:11:11 EST 2000

"Roger Hansen" <rogerha at> wrote in message
news:ya0vgsx3h2f.fsf at


> Agree! it's a nice version. But I think the recursive version is even
> clearer.
> >>> def fact(n):
> ...     if n > 1:
> ...         return n*fact(n-1)
> ...     return 1
> ...
> >>> fact(4)
> 24
> You can change line 3 with
> ...         return long(n)*fact(n-1)
> and you have long integers

Alternatively, change "return 1" to "return 1L". Unfortunately, the
recursive version has the drawback that it run's into python's recursion
limit (at around 1000 on my machine).

One more entry that I like is:

def factorial(n):
    result = 1L
    while n:
        result *= n
        n -= 1
    return result

It's not any faster than the other choices, but it has the dubious,
theoretical distinction of using less memory than all but the xrange version
and in theory could handle numbers above sys.maxint (crude estimates
indicate that sys.maxint! would take something around a year to compute on
my machine, discounting memory issues).


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